Elizabeth Warren Launches Plan to Get More Young People to Vote

Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty
Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty
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As election laws continue to come under attack in Republican-controlled states, Congress has struggled to pass voting-rights reforms due to the delicate 50-50 Senate. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is trying to change that with a new bill targeting a historically low-turnout voting group: young people.

Warren’s new proposal, which she plans to introduce Monday, would expand voter registration at public colleges and universities, ensure all states allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, require colleges and universities to have polling places on campus and ensure that all states include student IDs as a form of voter ID, among other proposals, according to a draft of new legislation obtained by The Daily Beast.

The bill is based on expanding implementation for the 26th Amendment, which was ratified in 1971 and established the right of individuals aged 18 and older to vote. Previously, all voters needed to be at least 21 years old.

Though youth-voter turnout has increased in recent years, including an 11 percent uptick during the 2020 election as compared to 2016, young people continue to have the lowest voting participation of any age group.

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Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA), who leads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s voter protection efforts, is sponsoring the bill in the House.

Their push comes after voting rights legislation hit a standstill in the Senate in January as Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Joe Manchin (WV) declined to join their fellow Democrats in supporting a filibuster carveout to pass the new reforms. There has been a subset of Republicans senators seemingly willing to work with Democrats on elections law, though most of their common ground has been on the Electoral Count Act, an administrative law that details how votes are counted.

Warren’s bill, as it stands, is co-sponsored by six additional Democrats in the Senate, but no Republicans.

“Voting is the beating heart of our democracy. Young people are the future of America, and with voting rights under attack across the country, we must do everything we can to ensure they can exercise their right to vote,” Warren wrote in a statement.

“My new bicameral bill with Congresswoman Williams will ensure young people aren’t left out of the voting process, and I’m thrilled to partner with her and my colleagues on this effort.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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