Meng Reintroduces Legislation to Lower the Voting Age in America to 16 Years Old

Feb 4, 2021
Press Release
Congresswoman’s measure proposes constitutional amendment that would provide 16- and 17-year-olds with the right to vote
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) announced today that she reintroduced legislation in the House of Representatives to lower the voting age in America to 16 years old.
 
Meng’s measure seeks to replace the 26th amendment to the United States Constitution with a new amendment that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote.
 
“Our young people, including 16- and 17-year-olds, continue to fight and advocate for so many issues that they are passionate about from gun safety to the climate crisis,” said Congresswoman Meng. “They have been tremendously engaged on policies affecting their lives and their futures. Their activism, determination, and efforts to demand change are inspirational and have truly impacted our nation. It’s time to give them a voice in our democracy by permitting them to be heard at the ballot box. 16- and 17-year-olds are legally permitted to work and drive. They also pay federal income taxes. I believe that it is right and fair to also allow them to vote. Let’s let them be heard and make their voices count. Let’s give them a say in choosing who they want their government representatives to be. I’m proud to stand with our young people in introducing this legislation, and I urge my colleagues in the House to support it.”
 
“Voting is a habit, and research makes it clear that age 16 is a better time than 18 to establish that habit,” said Brandon Klugman, Campaign Manager at Vote16USA. “We need to pass Congresswoman Meng’s legislation to lower the voting age to 16 to increase participation in our democracy and to ensure that young people have a voice on the decisions that determine the direction of their futures.”
 

“Congresswoman Meng's record demonstrates a long-standing commitment to engaging young people in the civic process. As our democracy faces unprecedented attacks and as our country grapples with great, imminent challenges, it is critical we ensure those whose futures are most impacted and who will be responsible for resolving these issues for years to come are empowered to take action and have a voice today.” said Carolyn DeWitt, President and Executive Director of Rock The Vote. “Any effort to make young people’s voices heard on a local, state, and federal level is an important one."

 

"Generation Vote and our allies are firmly committed to advancing a new vision for the future of our democracy and what it means to engage young people in the electoral process in New York State and across the country,” said Brianna Cea, CEO of Generation Vote. “Lowering the voting age is an investment in the leaders of tomorrow and we are proud to endorse Congresswoman Meng’s amendment to extend voting rights to citizens who are 16 years of age. Empowering the next generation of voters makes our communities stronger, strengthens civic education in our schools, and recognizes the contributions of young people to improving our democracy. In the wake of unprecedented youth voter turnout in 2020 and in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of the 26th amendment, we urge Congress to support this historic bill."
 
"This generation of young voters is more politically engaged than ever before, and the fate of our nation rests in their hands,” said Jocelyn Yow, Policy Manager at IGNITE National. “IGNITE believes that our democracy is stronger when the voices of our citizens—especially the youth—are uplifted, empowered, and amplified. We are proud to support Congresswoman Meng’s efforts to lower the voting age to 16."
 
“Support is building nationwide for modernizing the voting age because young people are showing us how important it is,” said Samantha Gladu, Executive Director of the Next Up Action Fund. “The time is now to engage young people as lifelong voters and to recognize all they bring to our democracy. Young people are not our future: they are our present. Harbingers of culture, caretakers of family, and valuable community members. 16- and 17-year-olds are engaged, smart, and capable of casting informed votes which is why we support Congresswoman Meng’s proposed constitutional amendment to lower the voting age.”
 
“The National Youth Rights Association strongly supports Representative Meng’s constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 16,” said Neil Bhateja, Board Member at the National Youth Rights Association. “When the government makes decisions about education, the environment, and war and peace, young people are affected for more years of their lives than any other age demographic. They work and are subject to taxation without representation: income tax, sales tax, payroll taxes, and more. In Scotland, Brazil, Austria, and Argentina, 16-year-olds have shown that they’re ready to vote and deserve to shape their own futures. The United States should continue its democratic tradition of extending voting rights. Thank you Representative Meng for your leadership on this issue in Congress!”
 
Constitutional amendments require passage by two-thirds of the House and Senate, and ratification by three-fourths of the nation’s state legislatures. If enacted, the voting age would be lowered for federal, state and local elections. The last time that the voting age was lowered was when it went from 21 to 18 in 1971.  
 
Meng’s legislation (H.J.Res.23), which includes 17 original cosponsors, can be viewed here