Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) reintroduced an amendment which would lower the federal voting age to 16 as part of the H.R. 1 voting rights package.
In a Monday statement, Rep. Pressley said, “A sixteen-year-old in 2021 possesses a wisdom and a maturity that comes from 2021 challenges, 2021 hardships, and 2021 threats. Now is the time for us to demonstrate the courage that matches the challenges of the modern-day sixteen and seventeen-year-old.”
“My amendment with Congresswomen Meng and Schakowsky would lower the voting age for federal elections from eighteen to sixteen years of age, and allow young people to have a say in our federal elections and the policies that impact their lives today and will shape the nation in their lifetime,” Pressley stated.
On Wednesday, Pressley spoke on the House floor, telling her colleagues, “I rise today in support of my amendment to H.R. 1, the For the People Act. H.R. 1, is bold, transformative legislation which fights voter suppression, promotes access to the ballot, cracks down on money in politics, and provides transparency to the American people”.
“Passing this bill has never been more urgent,” the Massachusetts congresswoman claimed. “We must act to protect and preserve our democracy. My amendment gets to the heart of H.R. 1, and recognizes the contributions that young people continued to make to our democracy.”
“By lowering the federal voting age from 18 to 16 years of age, my amendment would enfranchise young Americans to help shape and form the policies that will set the course for our future. From police violence, to immigration reform, to climate change, to the future of work and minimum wage. Our young people are organizing, mobilizing, and calling us to action. They are at the forefront of social movements and have more than earned conclusion in our democracy,” Rep. Pressley alleged. Continued Below
“16 and 17 year-olds, constitutes of mine, are supporting their families. They are working not for enrichment or to build a resume, but because they have no choice. They are attending school full-time and taking care of loved ones in the midst of the COVID crisis, she said.
“Young people are contributing both to the labor force and their local economies by paying taxes and yet, they are deprived of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. Some have questioned the maturity of our youth. I don’t. 16 and 17 year-olds today possess wisdom and maturity defined by today’s challenges, hardships, and opportunities,” Pressley asserted.
“They deserve and demand a government that is accountable to them. A government that values their voices and understands the depth and breadth of their lived experiences. They are not a monolith, but they are nation builders, living through global pandemic, confronting racial injustice, and rebuilding our democracy,” the progressive squad-member claimed. Video Below
“Now is the time for us to meet the moment and enfranchise 16 and 17 year-olds,” she added.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s remarks over 16 and 17 year-olds voting:
16 & 17-year-olds in my district are working to support their families. Not for enrichment or to build a resume. They are working because they have no choice.
They do so while attending school full-time & caring for loved ones. Their voices are needed at the ballot box. pic.twitter.com/fN67VrVKx3
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) March 3, 2021
(Related: Rep. Pressley On Mail-In-Voting: “There Needs To Be Unrest In The Streets For As Long As There Is Unrest In Our Lives”)