DC Lawmakers Propose Lowering Voting Age to 16

More D.C. youth may get the chance to vote in the 2020 presidential elections under a proposed law to lower the voting age in the District to 16.

The measure would allow 16-year-old residents to vote in local and national elections.

The law has won support of several council members and Mayor Muriel Bowser. It could take effect ahead of the 2020 presidential elections.

The District would be the only locality in the country that would allow 16-year-olds to vote for president. Three Maryland jurisdictions, Takoma Park, Hyattsville and Greenbelt, already allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in municipal elections.

Citing the droves of D.C. students who walked out of their schools to protest gun violence, councilmember Charles Allen proposed the legislation. He says teens that age can pay taxes, so they should get to vote.

16-year-old student Aik Schier took the day off school to sit in the council meeting as the law was proposed.

"D.C.'s kind of slogan is taxation without representation," Schier said. "To people like me, it really hits us. Really hard. Because there's nobody representing us.


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"The adults aren't doing their job. They're not representing who they say they are, so students are stepping up," Schier said.

Not everyone agrees, however. 

"I don't think they're mature enough to make that kind of decision for the rest of the country," Lynda Gillis, a Baltimore voter, told News4.

There are 11,831 16- and 17-year-old D.C. residents, accoridng to census data shared by Allen.

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