Democrats Propose Voting Rights for 16-Year-Olds in Constitutional Amendment

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January 13, 2023

A new proposal has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) to amend the United States Constitution. 

H.J.Res.16. would add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing those aged 16 and older the right to vote. This would nullify the current Twenty-Sixth Amendment which states that a citizen must be 18 years or older to vote. 

The Twenty-Sixth Amendment was passed by Congress during the Vietnam War. Its passage was primarily driven by the idea that, if 18-year-olds can fight in the military, they should also be able to vote. 

Meng has not yet made a public comment on this attempt to lower the voting age, but her past statements on the matter have amounted to the indication that lowering the voting age would gain Democrats more votes, according to Fox News. It is widely believed that younger Americans tend to have more left-leaning views than older demographics.

“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 Meng in a press release. “They have been tremendously engaged on policies affecting their lives and their futures.”

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Meng’s legislative history includes her co-sponsorship of bills that relate to gun control and climate change “mitigation.” Bills such H.R.4225, a bill intended to regulate home-built firearms, and H.R.330, a bill intending to enforce government-made emissions goals, have been co-sponsored by Meng.

While Meng and other Democrats have tried many times in the last few years to loosen voting requirements, including age restrictions, it should be noted that voting age decreases have been unable to progress even in a Democrat-led Congress.

Currently, there is little support for Meng’s newest proposal. Only 12 House members currently co-sponsor the legislation. Amendments to the Constitution require a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and House, as well as ratification by three-fourths of the states.

It is highly unlikely that much will come of this bill. Republicans say that the proposed amendment is part of a bid by Democrats to introduce more left-leaning voters into the electorate.

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