Interest in lowering the voting age has surged recently, as student-led activism stemming from the school shooting in Parkland demonstrates the power of young people to affect change and serves as a powerful reminder that young people’s perspectives and experiences must be reflected in public policy.

On February 19, CNN published an op-ed from election law and voting rights expert Joshua Douglas that makes the case:


That night, former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, who now leads Let America Vote, threw his support behind the issue:


Washington, D.C. City Council Member Charles Allen has been a longtime champion, and we’re working with him to bring back a Vote16 bill in DC this year.


Two days later, the city of Takoma Park, the first municipality in the United States to allow 16-year-olds to vote in local elections, answered a key question. How has this worked in practice?


Jonathan Bernstein from Bloomberg added to the conversation:


Jon Lovett of Pod Save America gets it:

He recognizes that different legal rights and privileges call for different age limits. This is exactly right. Each age limit in our society should be determined based on what is best for that particular activity. For voting, 16 is the right time to start.

And followed it up with full article on the issue, which mentions Generation Citizen’s work and addresses counterarguments. “You are young but it is time you get in the habit of democracy. You are young but voting isn’t for other people. It’s for you. It has to be.”


The next week, opinion pieces in both the Washington Post and New York Times continued to make the case.

The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog explains how the “trickle up” effect means that lowering the voting age can increase turnout among youth and their parents. 


In the New York Times, psychologist Laurence Steinberg explains the difference between hot and cold cognition, and why that means 16-year-olds are ready to vote. 


Boston public radio and TV host Jim Braude, who proposed lowering the voting age as a member of the Cambridge, MA city council in 2000, makes the case in the Boston Globe:


The 74, an education focused website, offers a good overview of the case for a lower voting age, with links to the most relevant research:


Want to help build the movement to lower the voting age, or start to advocate in your city? Get in touch. Sign up for our newsletter. And check out our resources to learn more and get started with advocacy.