Washington D.C. May Lower Down Voter’s Age Requirement to 16 For National Elections!
In the wake of the Florida’s mass shooting, we’ve seen how the youth have risen to power when they successfully organized a marching protest in Washington D.C last March 24, 2018. Many organizations all over the world joined this momentous event in history to end violence and urge the government to implement stricter gun control. Several prominent celebrities and public figures sponsored the event and lauded our youth for standing up and fighting for their future.
Meanwhile, other politicians and gun rights advocates slammed this category of people for “meddling with adult’s business.” However, it seems that the voice of youth is resonating with the Americans because they soon might not only march to protest but also walk straight to the voting precinct to finally vote for the deserving public figures to hold national positions.
The Youth’s Emerging Political Power
While the nation remains divided and caught in heated debates between pro and anti-gun control, Washington D.C. is considering giving the Z generation who are 16-years old voting rights in federal elections, including the ability to vote for President as they started to see the youth’s potential and emerging political power to influence US politics.
Apparently, this movement isn’t only considered in the US, but in other countries too as they noted the number of states and cities opening up their election booth doors to younger people.
A Dramatic Turnaround
A Democrat member and a D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen first introduced the bill last week seeking to lower the voting age. He stated a young American at the age of 16 already reaps the benefits of owning and driving a car, ability to work, and to raise or help their family at their own discretion. They’re also contributing to the government by paying taxes too. And yet, he noted how these young people aren’t able to exercise their rights where it matters the most – the right to vote.
Majority of the D.C. Councilmembers supported the cause. In fact, they already signed the said bill. Allen considered this turnaround as a historic moment, considering he introduced a similar bill three years ago, but to no avail.
Of course, he noted he wouldn’t achieve this success if it weren’t for the passion and eloquence of Never Again MSD to stand up for their lives. The post-Parkland shooting demonstrated the youth’s power by triggering nationwide school walkouts against gun violence.
A Strong Political Hold
Similar bills have also passed before to lower the voting age. Takoma Park in Maryland, for example, became the country’s first jurisdiction to entitle 16-17-year-old Americans to vote since 2013. The other progressive cities like Berkeley California had followed suit. Unfortunately, these cities only extend the youth’s voting rights up to municipal elections.
Another downside of D.C.’s bill is the fact that the U.S. Congress has the power to block these laws. Furthermore, the experts say that the 26th Amendment, which granted the power for an 18-year old American to vote, didn’t help to lower down the voting age further.
However, the Democrats stated that this could be a vital step to urge the government to register high school students in national elections. Several progressive groups have also forged coalitions to enable the youth to vote in 10 key battleground states for this year’s midterms.
Furthermore, the former Representative Gabrielle Giffords sees this bill as an opportunity for the youth to truly make a difference and contribute to the improvement of the country by casting their votes. He also urges the Congress to protect the youth’s future by enacting the said bill.
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