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Freshman Democratic lawmaker proposes measure to lower US voting age to 16

'Across this nation, young people are leading the way — from gun violence, to climate change, to the future of work'

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) introduced legislation Wednesday to lower the federal election voting age from 18 to 16.

"Across this nation, young people are leading the way — from gun violence, to climate change, to the future of work — they are organizing, mobilizing, and calling us to action," Pressley said in a news release.

The measure was introduced as an amendment to the Democrat-backed H.R. 1, a bill aimed at expanding voter rights and reforming campaign finance. Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) co-sponsored the amendment.

It's the freshman congresswoman's first amendment since taking office.

What else did Pressley say about the amendment?

Pressley's news release added:

I am proud to propose an amendment that will lower the mandatory minimum voting age from 18-years-old to 16-years-old for federal elections, giving young people the power to elect members of Congress and the President of the United States.

In the Massachusetts 7th, young activists remind us daily what is at stake, and just how high those stakes are. Our young people are at the forefront of some of the most existential crises facing our communities and our society at large. I believe that those who will inherit the nation we design here in Congress by virtue of our policies and authority should have a say in who represents them.

Have other lawmakers proposed similar measures?

Last month, Oregon state Sen. Shemia Fagan (D) proposed legislation to lower the state's voting age from 18 to 16.

The state's younger residents should have "a chance to participate in the ballot — about decisions that affect their homes, their clean air, their future, their schools and, as we've seen, their very lives," Fagan said during a news conference.

Last year, legislation to lower the voting age to 16 for federal elections failed to move forward in the District of Columbia, the Washington Post reported.

One last thing…
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