San Francisco could be first major American city to let 16-year-olds vote

Justin Vallejo
·2 min read
Bridge the gap: P&O's Aurora in San Francisco
Bridge the gap: P&O's Aurora in San Francisco

San Francisco could give children as young as 16 the right to vote in local elections if a landmark proposition passes in the US’s November elections.

The proposition to lower the voting age by two years will be decided by the city's residents, who rejected the legislation when it was first proposed in 2016, according to NBC News.

While the previous attempt failed narrowly with 48 percent of the vote, organizers of the "Vote 16" campaign believe they will get it over the line this year.

“Our motivation here first and foremost is to make sure that we put new voters in a position to establish that habit in the first election they're eligible for, and then to continue participating throughout their lives which is good for democracy on every level,” Vote 16 campaign manager, Brandon Klugman, told NBC News.

Smaller cities like Takoma Park, in Maryland, already allow 16-year-olds to vote in municipal elections. But San Francisco, one of the largest cities in California, would be the first of its size and could lead to more major metropolitan areas following suit.

A voting age of 16 years has not received major support federally, a few but Democratic lawmakers have

Ayanna Pressley, of Massachusetts, introduced an amendment lower the federal voting age to the For the People Act in 2019, while Grace Meng, of New York, introduced a constitutional amendment in 2018 to lower the nationwide age restriction by two years.

"I’m always inspired by our nation’s youth who have demonstrated wisdom, maturity and passion on issues like social justice, gun control, and climate change," Ms Meng told the outlet.

"They are the leaders of our future and the decisions we make impact their lives every day. To capture their views and experiences, we must lower the voting age to 16 in all elections."