San Francisco could be the first major city in the United States to lower the voting age to 16 giving teens the right to vote in municipal elections.
Those who support the proposition claim that lowering the voting age will instill a lifelong habit of voting.
Vote16SF says on its website, "lowering the voting age can lead to a long-term increase in voter turnout, bringing more citizens in touch with their government and pushing the government to better serve its people."
In an interview with NBC News, 18-year-old organizer for Vote16SF, Crystal Chan said the measure "will help youth of color in San Francisco establish the habit of voting at an earlier age, and really provide them with the support and the resourced that they need to continue building on the habit as they grow older."
Skeptics of lowering the voting age disagree. They make the argument that 16 and 17-year-olds are not yet mature enough to make rational decisions at the voting booth.
Nate Hochman, an activist and senior at Colorado College does not support the proposal saying young people lack the experience to know “what good governance looks like” in their communities.
“Sixteen-year-olds — they're sophomores, juniors in high school like they're deeply impressionable. They're largely interested in learning what, you know, their friends are doing and appearing to be cool. And they're not capable of making completely rational decisions about voting. When are you an adult? When do we trust you to make your own decisions about who you are in the world and making your own way?" said Hochman.
A similar proposal was introduced in 2016 but was unsuccessful in gaining enough votes to pass. Those of the legal voting age will be able to decide in November if young teens hold enough responsibility to make big decisions. Activists are confident the measure will pass.
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