Young people and elected officials are working on legislation to lower the voting age in states across the country, and we’re here to help you keep track of the action. Read on for more details on bills that are in the works or have been recently introduced in state legislatures.
If you’re looking for an overview of current state laws related to the voting age — including which states allow cities to make the change on the local level — check out the Vote16USA white paper.
Are we missing something? Or do you want to get involved in any of these efforts? Reach out today!
- An Act Concerning Voting For Municipal Officers And On Local Questions would permit municipalities to choose to pass an ordinance to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections. The bill has 12 co-sponsors and is supported by the ACLU of Connecticut. A similar bill introduced in the previous legislative session had four co-sponsors.
- Fun fact: Connecticut was one of the first states to ratify the 26th amendment, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, in 1971.
- A bill proposing a state constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 17 for all elections in the state was introduced in the House this year. The bill was introduced by six sponsors in the state House. Similar legislation was introduced in 2019.
- Fun fact: Georgia was the first state to use a voting age of 18. The state set its voting age at 18 through a state constitutional amendment in 1943, 28 years before the rest of the country would adopt the change through the 26th amendment.
- Several bills before the state legislature this year seek to extend voting rights to 16- and 17-year-olds through amendments to the state constitution. Last session, similar legislation was introduced and gained momentum before ultimately stalling. This year’s bills are:
- Follow @Vote16Hawaii for the latest on these bills.
- A bill was introduced proposing a state constitutional amendment to extend voting rights to 16- and 17-year-olds for state and local elections. The same bill was introduced in the last legislative session.
- Fun fact: Kentucky was the second state to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 in 1955, several years before the 26th Amendment made the voting age 18 nationwide in 1971.
- A bill to allow municipalities to implement a lower voting age and other local election reforms has been introduced and is currently before the Joint Committee on Election Laws. Nine Massachusetts municipalities have approved of resolutions to lower the voting age for local elections but are unable to implement the change under current state law. A similar bill in the previous legislative session secured 51 co-sponsors and earned an endorsement from the Boston Globe’s editorial board.
- The Young Voter Act, introduced this session with 7 cosponsors in the Senate and 24 in the Assembly, proposes a state constitutional amendment to extend voting rights to 16- and 17-year-olds, requires civics education courses for all high school students, and requires schools to give students the opportunity to register to vote.
- This legislation is the result of years of collaboration between youth activists and elected officials. Youth-led groups including the Youth Progressive Policy Group and Generation Vote have led the advocacy push for this legislation.
- The Oregon legislature is considering two exciting bills this year:
- SB776 would permit 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in school district elections. This can be accomplished through a statutory change. It does not require a state constitutional amendment. This bill was introduced with 12 cosponsors.
- SJR25, introduced with 9 cosponsors, proposes a state constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 16 for all elections in the state.
- Follow Next Up Oregon for the latest on youth-led advocacy.
- Youth advocates have successfully lobbied for the introduction of a resolution proposing a state constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 16 for elections in the state. This is the first notable effort in Maine.
- Legislation in New Mexico seeks to lower the voting age through a change to the state election code. The bill was amended by the Rules Committee to change the proposed new voting age from 16 to 17, and then it was referred to the Judiciary Committee.
- A bill to allow school districts to choose to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in school district elections was introduced and was approved by a committee with bi-partisan support, and was then ultimately voted down in the House. Impressive youth-led advocacy resulted in bi-partsian support. This was the first bill related to a lower voting age introduced in Utah.
A bill providing for voter pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds was approved in Virginia. Similar bills were have been introduced in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and New Jersey. This policy is already in place in 15 states.
Would you like to get involved in efforts to advocate for these important bills? Are you aware of anything that is missing from this list? Please contact us.