If the bill passes in a final council vote, D.C. would become the first municipality in the country to allow minors to vote in all elections, including presidential races.
WASHINGTON — A bill that would lower the voting age for District residents from 18 to 16 cleared a committee hurdle Thursday and will advance to the full D.C. Council for a final vote.
If it passes, the nation’s capital would become the first municipality in the country to allow minors to vote in all elections, including presidential races.
Three Maryland jurisdictions — Takoma Park, Greenbelt and Hyattsville — previously lowered their voting age to 16 but only for local elections.
“Many 16-year-olds shoulder adult responsibilities and burdens,” said Council member Charles Allen, who introduced the bill in April. “They do have skin in the game in their communities. They pay taxes, they have jobs and they drive on our city streets.”
The legislation passed through the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety on a vote of 3-0.
“This bill will enfranchise the District’s young people and bring their voices into the political process,” said Allen.
Allen unsuccessfully introduced the measure in 2015 and revived it this year, inspired by high school student protests against gun violence following the Feb. 14 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.