California would become the first state in the nation to allow 17-year-olds to vote in a general election under a proposed state constitutional amendment introduced this week by a Silicon Valley legislator. In 1971, 18-year-olds across the United States won the right to vote through the 26th Amendment. But the U.S. Constitution doesn’t prevent states from further lowering the voting age, notes the measure’s main sponsor, Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Cupertino. Allowing citizens to vote while they’re still in high school will help to establish their voting habits early, before their transition to college or work, argues Low, who heads the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting.
“It’s really about civics and the habits and patterns of democracy and making sure people are engaged in their government,” Low said.
California already allows 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote, and 17-year-olds who will turn 18 before a general election are permitted to vote in the primary. Last fall, a San Francisco ballot measure to lower the voting age to 16 for local elections failed, but Berkeley passed a measure to allow 16-year-olds to vote in local school board elections.
Full Article: California proposal would lower voting age to 17.