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DC considers letting 16-year-olds vote

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A council member in Washington, D.C., has introduced legislation that would lower the age to vote in federal and local elections to 16.

D.C. council member Charles Allen (D) last week introduced the legislation, which could allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in the 2020 presidential election, WUSA-TV reported.

Allen said he proposed the legislation after seeing the students march last month in Washington, D.C. for the “March for Our Lives” event to protest gun violence and demand new gun laws.


Seven of the 13 members of the D.C. Council are backing the measure, advocates of the proposal told WUSA-TV.

“I think people are getting excited about this, especially with what’s going on in the nation right now in terms of youth leading social change,” said Alisha Chopra, 18, a senior at School Without Walls in Washington, D.C. 

“So I think that people are going to be very excited about it and want to get on board.”

Alex Shyer, a 16-year-old sophomore at Woodrow Wilson High School, told the television station teenagers can handle the ability to vote.

“We work, we pay taxes, we care for family members, we can drive, we can do so many other things. So, adding voting onto that isn’t going to be that big of a responsibility. We can handle it,” Shyer said.

Because Washington, D.C., is considered in some cases a state, it can change the voting age for federal elections as well as local elections. 

The voting age in the country was last changed in 1971 when people 18 years old and older were granted the right to vote.

Tags High school Voting age Washington, D.C.

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