“A sixteen-year-old in 2021 possesses a wisdom and a maturity that comes from 2021 challenges, 2021 hardships, and 2021 threats,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley, one of the members of Congress behind the amendment, said in a statement on Monday. “Now is the time for us to demonstrate the courage that matches the challenges of the modern-day sixteen- and seventeen-year-old.”
Pressley, Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., reintroduced the amendment on Monday.
Pressley said in February she was “shocked” that lowering the legal voting age to 16 is a “polarizing” subject of debate.
“Dr. Kendi, I was shocked by how polarizing an issue this was, and listen, when I would tell people [the late Rep.] John Lewis is an original co-sponsor of this — you know, our young people deserve to have a stakeholder in our democracy,” Pressley, a member of the so-called “Squad,” said in response to Kendi, who said lowering the voting age is an example of anti-racist policy.
The idea isn’t brand new. The amendment to lower the voting age was first attached to H.R. 1 in March 2019, when the measure failed after garnering just 126 votes in the House.
“Beginning at the age of 16, young people are contributing to both the labor force and their local economies by paying income taxes, and yet they are deprived of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote,” Pressley said on the House floor in 2019. “In this country, we affirm that when a person walks into the voting booth and pulls that lever, there is no meritocracy or hierarchy. The booth is the equalizer.”
Some states have taken interest in the issue as well. Hawaiian lawmakers introduced a bill in January that would lower the voting age from 18 to 16.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Bradford Betz and FOX Business’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.