Amplify young voices: tell your leaders to support 16 and 17-year-old voting

Elected Officials

Image of young voter with the text take a stand for young voters.

Young people deserve to have a voice in who represents us.

Allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote will provide them with a tool to hold elected officials accountable for their actions – and their inaction.

From gun violence to climate change to the cost of college, young people are directly and deeply impacted by public policy decisions. They have ignited movements on social media and on the ground, but younger Americans are sometimes ignored by federal and state elected officials because they can’t vote.

During the Vietnam War era when many young people were being drafted into military service, Common Cause was instrumental in helping to pass the 26th Amendment to the Constitution to lower the voting age to 18 to give those younger Americans a greater voice.

Lowering the voting age could help young people achieve greater and more meaningful political representation, as well as allow them to engage in advocacy efforts with the extra power that comes with being a voter.

Currently, in many states, 16- and 17- year olds can register to vote – and in some municipalities, they can even cast a ballot in local elections. But if we want to nurture a generation of new voters and provide them with a deeper knowledge and appreciation for civics, we must go even further.

Lowering the voting age can also help ensure that the electorate represents the diversity of the United States. Historically, young people, people of color, and poor people have been left out of our elections – but expanding the electorate will help to capture more of those voices.

Young people are the voices our democracy needs. Add your name and demand that elected officials support giving 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote.

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To: Elected Officials
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Right now, 16- and 17-year olds across the country are showing up in record numbers to advocate for the causes that matter most to them – but they are unable to bring that passion to the ballot box.

These young Americans deserve a voice – and should be able to vote for elected officials who represent their interests. I urge elected officials nationwide to extend the right to vote to 16- and 17-year olds, expanding the electorate and moving toward a democracy that fairly represents all constituents.