District of Columbia Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) has introduced a bill that would lower the voting age from 18 to 16 for municipal and federal elections held in Washington, D.C. Councilmembers David Grosso (I-At Large) and Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1) are co-sponsoring the bill. Even if the council passes the measure, Congress must approve it before implementation. If successful, D.C. would join Takoma Park, Md., and Hyattsville, Md., as the third city in the area to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections, but the first to allow them to vote in federal elections. Allen explained that despite original reservations, he became more receptive to the idea after hearing from community members about the maturity of 16- and 17-year-olds. Those lobbying for the bill also expressed a desire to reconnect younger people with city politics after the District experienced a rise in youth violence this summer.
“There’s a lot of expectations that we put on [young people] … to be able to make good decisions for themselves,” Allen said. “If I trust a 16-year-old to do those things, why in the world wouldn’t I trust them to go to a voting booth?”
Grosso also noted that these younger voters can provide new perspectives and highlight issues that have been neglected in the past.
“I don’t see why we couldn’t make a pitch to younger residents to vote,” Grosso said. “If 16- and 17-year-olds are able to vote, they may be able to push some policy issues that are important for younger residents.”
Full Article: Bill Aims to Lower Voting Age.