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16-Year-Olds May Get Historic Right in DC

Council to vote on measure allowing them to vote in national elections, including for president
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2018 6:31 AM CST
"I Voted" stickers await voters.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

(Newser) – Washington, DC, appears poised to become the first municipality in the nation to let 16-year-olds vote in national elections, including presidential races. A measure to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 cleared a committee last week and now heads to the full council, reports WTOP. To pass, it needs the support of a majority of the 13-member city council, and WJLA reports that eight members already have voiced their approval. While a handful of US cities allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in local elections, none grants the right in national elections. DC has an estimated 10,000 teens of that age, most of them minorities, per WJLA.

“At the age of 16, your legal relationship with the government changes,” says council member Charles Allen, who introduced the measure. He points out that many 16-year-olds get jobs and begin paying taxes, and they also start driving. "Ironically, they pay fees to get a license plate that reads ‘End Taxation Without Representation.’ I think it’s time to change that.” Allen says he was inspired in part by the youth political movement that surfaced after school shootings. If passed by the council and signed by the mayor, the measure must undergo a 30-day congressional review period. (One leader of the youth political movement has big plans for himself by the age of 25.)

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