Squad member Rep. Ayanna Pressley stated on Thursday that she was “shocked” that allowing 16-year-olds to vote would be such a “polarizing” issue.
Pressley (D-MA) has long been an advocate for lowering the legal voting age to 16. She discussed the issue during a Facebook Live segment with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and author Ibram Kendi.
“Dr. Kendi, I was shocked by how polarizing an issue this was, and listen, when I would tell people [the late Rep.] John Lewis is an original co-sponsor of this — you know, our young people deserve to have a stakeholder in our democracy,” Pressley said to Kendi, who brought racism into the mix.
Kendi double-downed on the race issue and stated that one of the areas he frequently addresses is the “disenfranchisement” of black and brown Americans.
(Source: Fox News)
“Young black and brown folks, in particular, are facing the brunt of disenfranchisement,” he said. “And when … the younger generations are more predominantly black and brown, it sort of leads to a greater level of disenfranchisement.”
“Anything that can ensure younger people can vote — the younger the better is then going to allow more black and brown folks to vote and thereby bring a greater sense of multiracial democracy to this country,” he added.
Pressley wholeheartedly agreed.
Writer Nancy Deutsch wrote for Newsweek in 2019 concerning backing Pressley’s move to lower the voting age:
“Even though 16 is the age when many teens can realize the rights and responsibilities of adulthood (such as driving and full employment), we say they somehow lack the maturity and experience to make informed choices at the ballot box. Opponents of the idea argue that 16-year-olds will just vote the same way their parents do.”
“The thing is, we don’t really have a good reason not to allow 16-year-olds to vote. In fact, the evidence suggests just the opposite—that enfranchising 16-year-olds would be good for them and good for our democracy.”
Now the idea is going mainstream and it is being pushed aggressively by the left ostensibly to garner millions of new, inexperienced, malleable voters. Republicans contend that the Democrats are seeking these young voters because most will lean leftward in their newfound politics. According to a 2018 Pew Research study, Democrats have a 27-percentage-point advantage among younger voters.
According to a segment on “Fox & Friends” with Campus Reform’s Editor-in-Chief Cabot Phillips, many of these potential voters have only heard one side of these issues but will be swayed to do the ‘popular’ thing when voting. At 16, these proposed voters have no skin in the game, Phillips noted, explaining that they don’t take out loans or mortgages and they don’t pay for healthcare or taxes.
“We should encouraging 16-year-olds to get involved,” Phillips acknowledged, but said that at this age, they aren’t engaged enough to vote yet.
Meanwhile, New York Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY) follows Pressley’s lead and has just announced that she has introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that will lower the voting age to 16-years-old. She is seeking to replace the 26th Amendment with a new amendment that will allow 16-year-olds to vote.
“Young people have been leading the fight and literally their lives are at risk, their future is at risk,” she claimed to PIX11 News. “They should have a say in who they elect in this country.”
“They have been tremendously engaged on policies affecting their lives and their futures. Their activism, determination, and efforts to demand change are inspirational and have truly impacted our nation. It’s time to give them a voice in our democracy by permitting them to be heard at the ballot box. 16- and 17-year-olds are legally permitted to work and drive,” she said in a statement.
“They also pay federal income taxes. I believe that it is right and fair to also allow them to vote. Let’s let them be heard and make their voices count. Let’s give them a say in choosing who they want their government representatives to be. I’m proud to stand with our young people in introducing this legislation, and I urge my colleagues in the House to support it,” Meng proclaimed.
Pressley introduced H.J.Res 23 in 2019. It failed but she has not given up and neither have other Democrats.
“Beginning at the age of 16, young people are contributing to both the labor force and their local economies by paying income taxes, and yet they are deprived of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote,” Pressley stated at the time. “In this country, we affirm that when a person walks into the voting booth and pulls that lever, there is no meritocracy or hierarchy. The booth is the equalizer.”
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