San Francisco teenager Joshua Cardenas really wanted to vote in the Nov. 4 election. It was packed with local measures, such as raising The City’s minimum wage and extending funding for youth services, which the lifelong resident would have voted for. But the Riordan High School senior was barred from hitting the polls because he did not turn 18 until two weeks after the election. Instead, Cardenas has opted to try to lower The City’s legal voting age to 16 — a change that has gained the support of at least two supervisors. On Monday, the effort cleared its first hurdle to potentially go before San Francisco voters as early as November. Cardenas, a member of the San Francisco Youth Commission since August 2013, has authored a resolution that urges Mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors to explore lowering the voting age to 16 for municipal and school district elections. The Youth Commission, currently comprised of 15 commissioners ages 12 to 23, supported the resolution in a 14-1 vote Monday night.
Cardenas said he recognized that he was not the only minor in The City who likely would have taken to the ballot box in the most recent election. More than 90 young residents — a majority of whom were under 18 — attended a Young Voters Forum on Oct. 14 to discuss issues facing San Franciscans that were up for a vote last year.
“There’s a much more aging electorate in San Francisco, and across the country as well,” Cardenas said. “The voices of young people are not as well represented. Youths [don’t] feel included in local government.”
Two supervisors were quick to voice support Monday of the notion of allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in San Francisco.