WASHINGTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley is proposing to lower the voting age from 18 years old to 16 in an amendment she introduced in Congress Tuesday.

“Across this nation, young people are leading the way – from gun violence, to climate change, to the future of work – they are organizing, mobilizing, and calling us to action,” Pressley said in a statement.

In addition to youth involvement in social movements, Pressley said that about 2 million people ages 16 and 17 were employed in 2018 and paid taxes.

The 26th Amendment to the Constitution, passed in 1971 during the Vietnam War, lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. Pressley noted that the late senator from Massachusetts Ted Kennedy was behind the push to expand voting rights.

She said the United States is at a similar crossroads today.

“Young people are the forefront at some of our most existential crises,” Pressley said. “The time has come. Our young people deserve to have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”

Felix Brody and Jack Torres are juniors at Somerville High School. Both are part of the Vote 16 coalition, a youth movement aiming to give a voice to those who are civically engaged. They say 18 is an age when most are transitioning out of the home and not thinking about voting.

“So starting that civic engagement and starting those responsibilities as a 16-year-old leads to a life in trust in the government,” Torres said.

On Beacon Hill, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin says he welcomes the debate, but making it happen would require changing the Constitution.

“The United States Constitution speaks of 18-year-old being the minimum age. There is some language in that amendment that does allow for Congress to take some action,” Galvin said.

Pressley’s proposal is an amendment to the Democrats’ “For The People Act” which addresses campaign finance reform, voting rights and government ethics.

Comments (8)
  1. Michael S. Terrell says:

    a big mistake it’s just to draw teenage votes for the democrats that’s all it is………big mistake

  2. Diane Napoli says:

    With all the violence in the political climate today, this is a big mistake. Besides that, with all the work that needs to be done in this country, there are more pressing issues, infrastructure, voter fraud, the over 1m people pouring into our country on top of the 22-26 million already here, DACA uncertainty, looks like Congress wants to do anything but its job.

  3. Celeste Walter says:

    Simple when the “youth” are no longer claimed on their parents tax returns because their parents support them …go ahead,, give them a voice …otherwise please, don’t let them put your braids in too tight I think the bloodflow to your brain has been severely compromised. Please do your research…know that it is taxpayers who pay your unearned salary.

  4. Absolutely not. Just a Political Ploy. Congresswoman Pressley should be focusing on other issues. Such as Health Care Reform, Immigration Reform, and so many other issues.

  5. Keith Albert says:

    People of that age are just not mature enough and too easily swayed one way or the other. Let them be drafted(everyone between the age of 16 and 20 years should be required to spend two years in service to this country) first and then maybe they will have some hope to have a grasp of seeing thru the fog of BS and a better chance of seeing truth and be able to vote with their brain and not their hormones.

  6. Mona Skelton says:

    That is insane!