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San Francisco may allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote

A California city may soon allow teens ages, 16 and 17, to vote in local elections. 

San Francisco residents will not only be voting in the presidential election come November, but they will also cast votes to determine if youth will be allowed to vote in municipal elections. 

Advocates in the city have been pushing such measures since 2016, when the first legislation failed with 48 per cent of the vote, according to NBC News

‘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,’ organizer, Crystal Chan, told the network. 

San Francisco residents (pictured) will not only be voting in the presidential election come November, but they will also cast votes to determine if youth will be allowed to vote in municipal elections

San Francisco residents (pictured) will not only be voting in the presidential election come November, but they will also cast votes to determine if youth will be allowed to vote in municipal elections

San Francisco would become the first major US city to lower the voting age by two years if the proposition passes. 

Some US cities have already allowed teens as young as 16 to vote in local elections. 

Takoma Park, Maryland, which passed such legislation in 2013, is one of those cities and local officials have said they have seen positive results. 

‘Research is clear on this, that voting is a habit. And 16 is a better time than 18 to establish that habit,’ Brandon Klugman, Vote 16’s campaign manager, told NBC News.  

Other elected officials have also pushed for similar laws in New York and Massachusetts. 

In Massachusetts, Rep Ayanna Pressley introduced an amendment to the For the People Act in 2019, to lower the federal voting age to 16.

San Francisco would become the first major US city to lower the voting age by two years if the proposition passes

San Francisco would become the first major US city to lower the voting age by two years if the proposition passes

In 2018, New York Congresswoman Grace Meng introduced a constitutional amendment 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 told NBC. 

‘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.’

But with everything, there are critics who believe that 16 year olds are not mature enough to cast ballots.  

Nate Hochman, a senior at Colorado College, told NBC that he doesn’t support the initiative to lower the voting age because he questions whether young people understand ‘exactly what good governance looks like’ in their communities.

‘Sixteen-year-olds — they’re sophomores, juniors in high school like they’re deeply impressionable. And they’re not capable of making completely rational decisions about voting,’ Hochman said.

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