Michigan Democrats propose lowering voting age to 16

Michigan Democrats propose lowering voting age to 16
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Two Michigan state lawmakers have introduced a proposal that would lower the voting age to 16 for state elections. 

Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D) and Sen. David Knezek (D) introduced bills in both the House and Senate on Tuesday. 

Knezek told the Detroit Free Press that 16-year-olds should be able to vote if they are old enough to get a job and pay taxes.

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"Young people are setting aside their differences and identifying issues they think need to change," he said, referring to the outpouring of student activism in the wake of recent school shootings. "And they can do everything to get that change except vote."

Changes to the U.S. and Michigan constitutions would be needed to lower the voting age, the Free Press noted, adding that a supermajority in the state's House and the Senate would be required to change the state's Constitution. That's not likely, it said, considering Republicans control both chambers. 

Congress would also have to pass a measure and then send it back to the states for ratification. The nationwide voting age was last changed in 1971, from 21 to 18.

"People are trying to turn this into a partisan issue, but it’s a voting issue," Knezek said. "It’s integral in ensuring our democracy can survive in the United States."

After a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., left 17 people dead, students from around the country have led protests to keep conversations about gun violence at the center of the news. Students have targeted their efforts at the National Rifle Association and politicians who have received donations from the group. 

Students from Parkland announced in early June they'd be going on a nationwide bus tour to register young people to vote.