The unprecedented outpouring of activism from students after the shooting at Marjorie Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Fla., in February is the genesis for a bill introduced in the Legislature last week that would change the voting age in Michigan to 16. “We allow 16-year-olds to go off and get jobs and pay taxes, but we fail to allow them to exercise their voice come election time,” said Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights. “Young people are setting aside their differences and identifying issues they think need to change. And they can do everything to get that change except vote.” The shooting at Parkland, which left 17 students and teachers dead, prompted multiple school walkouts and large demonstrations across the nation by students calling for more gun control.
The bills, simultaneously introduced in both the House and Senate, also would require a change in the federal and state constitutions. To change the state constitution, it would require a supermajority in the House and the Senate, which is unlikely in the Republican-controlled Legislature, and a vote of the people. To change the U.S. Constitution, Congress would have to pass the change and send it back to the states for ratification. The last time the voting age was changed — from 21 to 18 — was 1971.
“People are trying to turn this into a partisan issue, but it’s a voting issue,” Knezek said. “It’s integral in ensuring our democracy can survive in the United States.”
The bill was one of dozens introduced by Democrats that are unlikely to get a hearing or vote in the GOP-controlled House and Senate, but will become talking points during the upcoming election season.
Full Article: Democrats propose changing legal voting age to 16.