House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says she’s in favor of lowering the voting age to 16, telling reporters this would be one way to boost voter engagement in the U.S.
Lowering the voting age would be one way to spark interest in politics among teenagers who are studying it in high school, she said. Pelosi expressed confidence that lowering the voting age to 16 is likely to heighten voter awareness and spur higher turnout, The Hill reports.
“I myself have always been for lowering the voting age to 16,” she said. “I think it’s really important to capture kids when they’re in high school, when they’re interested in all of this, when they’re learning about government, to be able to vote.”
Pelosi’s remarks recall earlier comments she made in a 2015 interview with The New York Times, where she said she was “all for” lowering the voting age. In the interview, the Speaker said lowering voter access to 16 year-olds is a good idea “because when kids are in school they are so interested, they’re so engaged.”
And in 2016, she supported a local ballot initiative that would have lowered the voting age in municipal elections to 16 in San Francisco, her home district. Unfortunately, the measure, known as Proposition F was defeated by just single digits.
Last Thursday, Congress voted against an amendment to the Democrats’ voting rights bill, one that would have lowered the federal voting age to 16. Sponsored by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), the amendment had plenty of support, with nearly 130 lawmakers voting in favor of it. Some say the amendment is the first of its kind to grace the House floor.
“Only a couple years ago, just one member of Congress expressing interest in 16-year-old voting was a huge deal, so to see 126 members vote yes on Rep. Pressley’s amendment is a thrilling sign of how far we’ve come in a short time, and a testament to the fact that support for this issue consistently increases as decision makers are educated about it,” said the advocacy group Vote16USA in a statement.
It seems like Pelosi and others who hope to see 16-year-olds get out the vote are on the right track. And what a wonderful way to help young people learn about politics — while they are busy learning this topic in school.
Here’s Nancy Pelosi discussing this below.
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