Massachusetts congresswoman looking to lower the voting age

Boston Statehouse

At age 16, you can drive, get a job and pay taxes. And now, Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley wants to add voting to that list. Her amendment to the HR1 Bill, currently being considered by Congress, would lower the federal voting age from 18 to 16. 

One Springfield man said he thinks 16 is too young. 

“We have such a fast-paced society that I don’t think they have really gotten a grip yet,” said William Blatch. “I say that respectively, but I don’t think they are ready.”

In a statement, Pressley said lowering the voting age would strengthen democracy in this country, because young people are already taking the lead on key political issues. She said those who will eventually inherit the country should have a say in electing those who represent them. 

One woman told 22News she agrees.

“We need to give our children, show them that they also have rights, not only the adults,”  said Enit Lugo of Holyoke. “They are coming to the age where they are going to become adults, so they need some reponsibility.”

But, another person said it’s too much responsibility.

“We need to spend more time thinking in-depth before we can make the critical vote,” said Henry Heaphy of Northampton. 

The voting age was effectively lowered from 21 to 18 with the passing of the 26th amendment back in 1971. 

If HR1 is passed, Pressley’s amendment would go into effect for the 2020 elections. Members of Congress are expected to vote on the bill on Friday. 

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