High school students marched to protest for gun control after the Parkland shooting in Florida and soon they might be marching straight to the voting booth in the nation’s capital. Washington is on track to become the first place in the country to allow people as young as 16 to vote in federal elections, including for president, as the nation glimpses the emerging political power of the generation that follows millennials. It’s part of a burgeoning movement in the U.S. and abroad as a growing number of cities and states consider ways to expand voting rights to younger people.
District of Columbia
Articles about voting issues in The District of Columbia.
District of Columbia: Vote At 16? D.C. Bill Would Lower Voting Age For Both Local And Federal Elections | WAMU
A bill set to be introduced in the D.C. Council on Tuesday would lower the voting age for both local and federal elections from 18 to 16. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who is introducing the bill, says that given all the other responsibilities 16-year-olds already have, they should also have the right to vote on who represents them. “At the age of 16, our society already gives young people greater legal responsibility. They can drive a car. They can work. Some are raising a family or helping their family make ends meet. They pay taxes,” he said in a statement. “And yet, they can’t exercise their voice where it matters most — at the ballot box.”
District of Columbia: A driver’s license in D.C. will soon come with a perk: automatic voter registration | The Washington Post
Every District resident over the age of 18 who gets a driver’s license would become automatically registered to vote under a spending plan the D.C. Council is expected to give final approval to later this month. The spending plan, which advanced easily on Tuesday, would mean the District would join eight states with automatic voter registration. Many Democratic lawmakers embraced automatic registration as a way to counter restrictive voter ID laws supported by some conservatives. Government groups have also pressed states to link voter registration with other government databases, saying doing so would help clean up inaccurate state voter rolls. Lawmakers in 32 states have introduced measures in the last year to automatically register drivers to vote.
District of Columbia: D.C. to spend $3 million to get names of dead people, other errors off voter rolls | The Washington Post
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) plans to spend $3 million to overhaul the city’s voter registration database, a file that is riddled with errors, including the names of deceased residents and thousands of voters whose births erroneously date to the 1800s, according to a recent audit. The move comes as President Trump launches a commission on “election integrity” to cut down on voter fraud, but city officials say that is a coincidence. “There is no connection. This decision was made well before President Trump’s election integrity commission,” Bowser spokesman Kevin Harris said Tuesday.
District of Columbia: D.C. primary may move to June to avoid breaking federal law | The Washington Post
The District would permanently shift its primary elections to late June — ending years of struggle by city officials to comply with federal requirements for mailing ballots to voters overseas — under legislation D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) plans to introduce Tuesday. Allen’s bill would establish the third Tuesday in June as D.C.’s primary election date, beginning in 2018 — a closely watched election year in which the primary campaign will likely decide a number of high-profile citywide races, including the next mayoral contest. The legislation is meant to put an end to a protracted period in which city officials have shuffled the primary across the calendar to avoid breaking federal law, which requires that general-election ballots be sent to overseas voters at least 45 days before election day.
District of Columbia: Republican-led Congress denies D.C. delegate a vote. Again. | The Washington Post
On the first day of the 115th Congress, members buzzed Tuesday about the repeal of President Obama’s health-care law, tax reform and whether to gut the ethics office. All Eleanor Holmes Norton wanted to discuss was a vote. And a symbolic one at that. For the fourth consecutive session, Norton (D), the nonvoting D.C. representative, formally asked the speaker of the House for the ability to vote on amendments and procedural issues. Again, she was thwarted. This time, she brought D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and a veterans advocate with her. Norton pushed for a vote in the Committee of the Whole as “a down payment on full voting rights for the more than 680,000 American citizens residing in the District of Columbia, who pay the highest federal income taxes per capita in the United States and have fought and died in every American war, yet have no vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, ‘the people’s house,’ ” she said.
Most of us dread going to the DMV, but the D.C. Council hopes your next trip to renew or update your license might help increase voter turnout. On Tuesday, Council members unanimously approved legislation making voter registration automatic. The veto-proof D.C. Council bill is now waiting for Mayor Muriel Bowser’s signature. The pending law would automatically send District Department of Motor Vehicles data to the D.C. Board of Elections. “At a time in our country, when we see states time and time again try to block people from the poll, from the ballot box, I’m really proud that in D.C. we actually are trying to make it easy as possible and get as many people registered to vote as we can,” said Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen who introduced the bill.
One step closer to statehood, the D.C. Council heard and discussed what could be the state constitution for “New Columbia.” “The question is not why statehood, but what it should look like,” said D.C. council member Mary Cheh during Tuesday’s hearing. To create the state of New Columbia, the citizens of the District are following what’s called the “Tennessee Plan.” “The citizens, of in this case of the District, get their proposal together before they petition Congress for admission into the union,” Council Chair Phil Mendelson explained at the hearing’s outset. But there’s little time to waste to get the referendum to voters by Nov. 8. It will need to be approved by voters in November to be sent to Congress. It’s a big job to be done in a small window of time.
District of Columbia: D.C. mayor pushes statehood issue at Democratic National Convention | The Washington Post
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, speaking Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention, confidently predicted victory — and soon — in the District’s four-decade fight for statehood. Bowser used the few moments she was allotted to address the convention to publicly demand greater support for the cause from fellow Democrats. The mayor also made clear that she expects Hillary Clinton to fulfill her pledge to be a vocal advocate for D.C. statehood if she wins the presidency in November. Taking the microphone to announce D.C. Democrats’ overwhelming vote for Clinton to be the party’s nominee, Bowser introduced herself as mayor of “the best city in the world, and soon to be the 51st state of our great union.”
Since Mayor Bowser announced her statehood initiative in April, the celebratory mood has gone from one of exuberance to consternation among some statehood supporters in just a short few months. The debate over the content of the Mayor’s proposed new statehood constitution and the sequence for its ratification have caused a flurries of discontent. Now, according to council Chairman Mendelson’s office, the final statehood constitution is unlikely to be put on the ballot in November for a vote up or down. However, the language of the city’s “advisory” referendum states that D.C. voters who approve the referendum “would establish that the citizens of the District of Columbia … approve a Constitution of the State of New Columbia to be adopted by the Council…” In other words, the D.C. Council may add or subtract whatever language it likes and call it a constitution, without District residents actually knowing what’s inside when they vote to approve it in the November.