SAN FRANCISCO—Vote 16 is a proposition that will allow voters to decide if 16 and 17-year-olds can vote in local elections and will appear on the San Francisco ballot in November 2020.
A similar measure was introduced in 2016 that failed with a 48-50 percent margin. Individuals who are not 18 or older cannot vote in municipal elections in any major cities in the United States. Some 16-year-olds have been allowed to vote in smaller cities as early as 2013, including Takoma Park, Maryland, a suburb in Washington D.C.
The proposition is advertised by the Vote 16 SF campaign started in 2015. The campaign website cites four reasons to “Vote Yes on G”:
-We need to make voting a habit.
-16- and 17-year-olds are ready to vote.
-16- and 17-year-olds have a stake in the game, and elected officials must treat them as equal constituents.
-Lowering the voting age to 16 will strengthen civics education.
In March, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi voiced her support of Vote 16, telling reporters at a press conference that it would encourage voter turnout in national elections. Pelosi, who is from San Francisco, supported the first vote on the measure in 2016.
Critics of the motion say young people are incapable of making rational decisions about voting, due to lack of experience and immaturity. Colorado College senior Nate Hochman told NBC News that he questions whether youth have enough experience in “understanding exactly what good governance looks like.”