Oregon lawmakers launch bill calling on voters to change state constitution to increase voting age from 18 to 16 as part of a plan unveiled Monday.
If adopted, the question could be put to voters in the 2020 presidential election. Oregon would become the first state to lower the voting age to 16 years across the country, which would give young voters the opportunity to vote, about decisions that affect their home, clean air, their future, their school and their lives, "said Democratic Senator Shemia Fagan at a conference in Salem.
"16-year-olds are subject to our criminal justice system," Fagan added, according to Salem Statesman. "They are surfing on a couch with friends while their families are homeless and begging us to take steps to protect their future."
The problems that young people face have been the catalyst for lowering the age of voting in the past. The 21st Amendment to the US Constitution – ratified in 1971 – lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 years. This measure was fueled in part by young people facing the Vietnam war project, which has become increasingly unpopular.
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"We need to be able to conduct our polling and protect the policies we work so hard for," said Maria Torres, a student at South Salem High School, according to Oregonian.
The bill would allow 16-year-olds to vote in all elections, including federal offices. Since 2003, 13 states have introduced bills aimed at lowering the age of voting. None has happened.