In 1971, the 26th Amendment lowered the national voting age from 21 to 18, affording the right to vote for an additional 10 million people. Efforts to lower the voting age started long before when many Americans were upset the national draft age was lowered to 18 during World War II, but those under the age of 21 didn’t have the privilege to vote.
Now, a new wave of youth voting activists is taking up the fight, this time in nearby Rockville, MD. Becca Fulton is one student pushing to lower the voting age to 16.
“Here as a 16-year-old, you get jobs in Rockville, you drive on the roads in Rockville, you go to schools in Rockville, you contribute to the economy and the workforce,” Fulton said on the City Cast DC podcast. “I think that you should have a say in what happens to you in Rockville.”
All of this is possible because of a state law that allows Maryland cities to lower the voting age through a city council vote. So far, five cities have already made it legal for 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections: Takoma Park, Greenbelt, Hyattsville, Riverdale Park, and Mount Rainier. Takoma Park was actually the first city in the country to lower the voting age to 16 back in 2013.
But Fulton told us student activists have received a lot of resistance in Rockville. They’re proposing the City of Rockville amend the voting age in the city charter, and this proposal will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Hear more from Fulton and why she believes 16-year-olds should have the right to vote in the latest City Cast DC episode.