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Lowering the Voting Age: Then and Now

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Lowering the voting age

Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 5:30 PM

On Wednesday, August 19th, Kennedy Institute hosted a virtual conversation on the movement to lower the voting age and the power of coalitions to push for change from both a historical and modern perspective. Participants included an original member of the Youth Franchise Coalition that was instrumental in the passage of the 26th Amendment and current activists working on voting rights and lowering the voting age to 16 years old.

Youth activism and participation were key in the movement to lower the voting age from 21 years old to 18 years old and the ultimate passage of the 26th Amendment guaranteeing this right. Senator Edward M. Kennedy worked with coalitions to gain congressional support for this effort and truly believed in the power they wield to bring about change. The current efforts to lower the voting age to 16 years old have seen some success throughout the United States and share many similarities to prior voting rights movements.

Moderated by Cheryl Crawford, executive director of MassVOTE, the conversation included:

J. Cottle, YCL Coordinator, MassVOTE

Patricia Keefer, Youth Franchise Coalition

Brandon Klugman, Vote16USA Campaign Manager, Generation Citizen

Arianna Nassiri, Vote16USA Youth Advisory Board Member

Video Resource