As global threats knock on the doors of our leaders and legislators, the generations most impacted are left voiceless. 16 and 17 year olds face the consequences of our actions, but lack the enfranchisement to participate in the most crucial elections we’ve ever held.

16- and 17-year-olds are able to drive a car, hold employment, pay taxes and they represent the next generation of municipal, statewide, and national leaders. They have ignited social movements, but they are often ignored and unable to leverage their  political power because they do not have the ability to vote. Lowering the voting age would help young people achieve greater political representation and allow them to engage in advocacy efforts with the extra power of being a voter. 

Including younger voters in our democracy provides them with a tool to hold elected officials accountable for their actions and inaction. From school shootings, neighborhood violence, the cost of college and more, young people are directly and deeply impacted by public policy decisions. 

Six jurisdictions in the United States have already lowered the voting age to 16 for some elections, resulting in voter turnout increases with no discernable negative consequences. Fifteen states and Washington DC allow pre-registration at 16, four allow have pre-registration at 17, and five other states have an assortment of ages under 18 (90 days before turning 18, or 17.5, or 17 and 10 months), while 18 states allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they will be 18 by the General Election.

Political scientists have found “there is no evidence that the quality of vote choices among citizens under 18 is any worse than that of older voters.” Scholars have concluded that “[s]ixteen-year-olds are mature enough — or at least as mature as individuals aged eighteen or older — to inform themselves sufficiently and make rational voting decisions.”


Are you 16 and interested in launching a campaign? Here’s how Common Cause might be able to support your efforts:

  • Engage our membership base in your campaign
  • Assist with press releases, press statements, OpEds, and LTEs
  • Support a legislative strategy
  • Support a grassroots campaign

To set up a call to discuss partnership, email

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Making Voting Accessible