State Watch

San Francisco considers changing local voting age to 16

A new proposition in San Francisco could allow teenagers as young as 16 to vote in local elections, NBC News reported Saturday

Residents will vote on the measure in November. If it passes, San Francisco will become the first major American city to grant 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in municipal elections. 

A similar measure introduced in 2016 failed to pass, receiving approximately 48 percent of the vote. However, local activists are hoping for success this time around. 

“I really think that Vote 16 will help youth of color in San Francisco establish the habit of voting at an earlier age, and really provide them with the support and the resources that they need to continue building on that habit as they grow older,” Crystal Chan, an 18-year old organizer for Vote 16 SF who fought to get the measure on the ballot, told NBC News. 

Some cities across the country have already offered certain voting privileges to teenagers. Takoma Park, Md., passed a measure in 2013 allowing people as young as 16 to vote in local elections. 

While lowering the voting age has not received the same level of support at the federal level, some lawmakers have vocalized their belief that young people should be allowed to vote on issues that directly impact them. 


Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) introduced a constitutional amendment in 2018 to lower the voting age nationwide to 16.

“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,” Meng said, according to the news 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,” she added.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) in 2019 introduced an amendment to H.R. 1 — the For the People Act— to lower the federal voting age to 16. The bill received 126 votes, failing to receive a simple majority that would allow it to move to the Senate.

Tags Ayanna Pressley California Grace Meng San Francisco Voting age

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