I hope this note finds you well. I know we are all going through a stressful time, to say the least. In the midst of ongoing uncertainty, it’s been a bit of a respite to reflect on some positive news within the Vote16USA movement. I’m excited to share the updates with you below, and hope this can bring some levity and optimism to your day.
Bills are making their way through state legislatures in Massachusetts, Hawaii, Colorado, and California. Data from 17-year-old voting in presidential primaries is also helping to make the case for a lower voting age.
One thing I’m most proud of this spring is the Boston Globe’s recent editorial endorsement of Vote16USA and the EMPOWER Act, a bill that would make it easier for Massachusetts cities and towns to implement a lower voting age.
Read on for details and more exciting updates.
Wishing you all the best,
WHAT’S GOING ON AROUND THE COUNTRY?
MASSACHUSETTS: Boston Globe Editorial Board endorses Vote16 and the EMPOWER Act Earlier this week, The Boston Globe’s Editorial Board published an endorsement of Vote16USA and the EMPOWER Act, the Boston Globe Editorial Board decided to endorse lowering the voting age for local elections and the EMPOWER Act, a bill in Massachusetts that would allow cities and towns to lower the voting age to 16 or 17 on the local level. Vote16USA and Generation Citizen are proud to be leading the coalition of youth leaders and allies that propels this work forward in Massachusetts. The Globe’s Editorial Board agrees that lowering the voting age will strengthen our democracy and that letting cities adopt this policy is a natural step to build on the progress Generation Citizen has made in ensuring all students in Massachusetts receive effective Action Civics education. Read the editorial here and help us share the news! Do you live in Massachusetts? Click here to send a pre-written letter to your MA state legislators to make sure they see the editorial.
Sample social media posts:
Voting is a habit. Allowing municipalities in MA to choose to lower the voting age to 16 or 17, endorsed today by @GlobeOpinion, would diversify local electorates, strengthen our democracy, & promote lifelong civic engagement. More: http://bit.ly/Vote16GlobeEndorsement #MAEMPOWERAct #Vote16
So exciting to see the @BostonGlobe @GlobeOpinion endorse the EMPOWER Act and support lowering the voting age on the local level today! Check it out: http://bit.ly/Vote16GlobeEndorsement#MAEMPOWERAct #Vote16
Shout-out to amazing youth activists in MA and champions like @gencitizen and @Vote16USA who just earned a @BostonGlobe @GlobeOpinion editorial board endorsement for a bill to let cities and lower the voting age! http://bit.ly/Vote16GlobeEndorsement
HAWAII: Vote16 legislation passes in the State Senate! The proposed state constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 16 for state and local elections was approved by the State Senate by a vote of 22-3 on March 3. This is the furthest a bill related to the voting age has ever advanced in Hawaii. The new progress is due in large part to an increased organizing effort led by The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs and other stakeholders including youth leaders.
COLORADO: Student Voice Student Vote Act passes in House Committee The Student Voice Student Vote Act (HB 1149) passed through its first committee earlier this month and now heads to the Appropriations Committee. The bill would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in local school board elections beginning July 2021. This proposal is backed by Student Voice, Student Vote, a coalition of youth advocacy groups. Check out their website to learn more and contact local leaders to get involved.
CALIFORNIA: ACA 8 Remains in the Senate Elections Committee Right now, ACA 8, the proposed state constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 17 in California, is in urgent need of advocacy to advance it out of the Senate Elections Committee. The #17toVote coalition in California is calling on supporters who live in the state to contact Senator Umberg and Senator Atkin’s offices to ask them to move ACA 8 forward and allow the bill to have a chance at passing the state senate and go to the voters. Senator Umberg is the chair of the Senate Elections committee (which has not yet committed to scheduling ACA 8 for a committee hearing), and Senator Atkins is the leader of the state senate. They need to hear from ACA 8 supporters! Do you live in California? Use (and share out!) this action page to contact the Senators’ offices!
- Do you live in a city or state with an active campaign? Check out current efforts and contact local leaders to get involved.
- Want to start a new campaign to lower the voting age in your community? We just launched a new page on Vote16USA making it easier than ever for you to get started.
IN THE PRESS
Proposal to let 16-year-olds vote in Colorado school board elections advances This article from Chalkbeat discusses the SV2 coalition’s recent legislative win as HB1149, or the Student Voice Student Vote Act, passes through its first committee. This bill would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in local school board elections beginning July 2021. The article also explores voter turnout trends and “racial gaps between the makeup of the student population and the people who vote in school board elections.” It features Vote16USA Youth Advisory Board member Kayla Morrison!
Youths 16 to 18 should be allowed to preregister to vote ahead of elections The American Bar Association’s House of Delegates voted to officially endorse voter pre-registration beginning at age 16, a policy several states already have in place and that has been shown to increase turnout among 18-year-olds. States with pre-registration in place are also best positioned to implement 16-year-old voting for local elections when it is approved.
Help us amplify these stories by sharing them with your friends!