Lowering the Age to Vote?

Questions of should 16 and 17 year old students be allowed to vote in School Board elections brings the question of voting age to the public conscience.


Eloise Kytle, Staff Writer

In 2020, Oakland passed Measure QQ. Students, ages 16 & 17, are now allowed to vote for certain school board elections. Now, people across the country are advocating for this change, not only for school board elections, but for voting in general.

Voting in General

National campaigns such as Vote16USA aim to lower the voting age to 16. They say teenagers, ages 16 and 17, are old and mature enough to make smart voting decisions. Vote16USA also claims that if these teenagers vote, they are more likely to continue voting in the years after. The individuals at Vote16USA also want to make sure that young people’s voices are heard and accounted for.

Many countries have already lowered the voting age to 16, such as Argentina, Ecuador, and Scotland. It would be hard, however, to lower the national voting age to 16, but many state and local offices are moving to pass bills that would, in some way, allow teenagers to vote at the specified level.

Voting in School Board Elections

Many school districts, like Oakland Unified School District, are moving towards allowing 16 and 17 year old’s to vote in school board elections. Teenagers pushing for this change are very passionate about seeing a change in their schools.


In the United States, you aren’t allowed to vote until you turn 18. However, certain states allow teenagers as young as 16 to preregister. In 16 states, you can preregister once you are 16, 4 allow it when you are 17, 5 have other ages when you can preregister, and 25 states don’t specify when preregistration is open.

Proposition 18

California Prop. 18 was a ballot that got defeated in 2020. If Prop. 18 had passed, “… this constitutional amendment to allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 at the time of the next general election to vote in primary elections and special elections.” According to ballotpedia.org. Many other states had similar amendments to their state constitution and many of them passed.