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Washington, DC, considering lowering voting age to just 16 years old
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Washington, DC, considering lowering voting age to just 16 years old

Washington, D.C., is considering lowering the voting age to just 16 years old — in time for the 2020 presidential election.

What are the details?

WUSA-TV reported that D.C. City Council Member Charles Allen (D) was moved propose the measure last week after witnessing the Parkland, Florida, students' youth-led initiative, March for Our Lives.

"At the age of 16, our society already gives young people greater legal responsibility," Allen said, according to NBC News. "They can drive a car. They can work. Some are raising a family or helping their family make ends meet. They pay taxes. And yet, they can't exercise their voice where it matters most — at the ballot box."

"Two years ago, the argument that I would hear people make was, really? Have you met a 16-year-old?” Allen added. "What we've seen over the last several months has just completely eviscerated that argument."

According to the report, seven of 13 council members support the measure, as well as Mayor Muriel Bowser, according to NBC News.

The measure's supporters are attempting to set up a public hearing by June and secure a vote by year-end.

Alisha Chopra, a local 18-year-old, told USA Today that, if passed, the legislation could effect great change in the U.S.

"I think people are getting excited about this, especially with what’s going on in the nation right now in terms of youth leading social change," she said. "So I think that people are going to be very excited about it and want to get on board."

The nation's voting age was last lowered — from 21 years old to 18 years old — in 1971 through the 26th Amendment after citizens argued that if a young person should be able to fight in the Vietnam War, they should be able to legally vote as well.

According to USA Today, "[W]hile cities can only extend voting rights in municipal elections, the District of Columbia is treated as a state in some cases, and can, therefore, change the voting age to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote for President of the United States in addition to local elections."

Congress, however, has the authority to strike down the legislation. According to the District of Columbia Home Rule Act of 1973, Congress reserves the right to block any legislation passed by the D.C. City Council.

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