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Democratic lawmakers push bill to lower Oregon's voting age to 16


State Sen. Shemia Fagan announce the legislation at a news conference Monday

Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Some Democratic lawmakers in Oregon are pushing a bill to lower the state's voting age from 18 to 16, the Statesman Journal reported.

The legislation was announced Monday by state Sen. Shemia Fagan (D) during a news conference. High school students attended the event at the state Capitol.

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, according to the Oregonian.

Fagan pointed to the students from Parkland, Florida, who launched the "Never Again" movement following the massacre that left 17 dead at their high school last year.

"Sixteen-year-olds are subject to our criminal justice system," Fagan said. "They are couch surfing with friends while their families experience homelessness and they're begging us to take action to protect their future."

Student activists also spoke at the news conference.

"We need to be able to take our work to the ballot and protect the policies we're working so hard to pass," South Salem High School senior Maria Torres said, according to the Statesman.

What's next?

If the bill is approved, voters in the 2020 general election would decide whether or not to amend the Oregon Constitution to lower the voting age.

And, if Oregon voters pass the measure, the state would become the first to reduce the statewide voting age to 16.

What else?

The sponsors of the bill also want 16-year-olds to be allowed to cast ballots in federal elections. However, the proposal might apply to only state and local elections.

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