By Luis Miguel
It won’t be long before adolescents are casting ballots if the far-left wing of the Democrat Party further consolidates its power.
Progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives attempted to add an amendment to the H.R. 1 elections bill, which was passed in the chamber on Wednesday, that would have lowered the federal voting age to 16, rather than the current 18.
Although the measure failed with a 125-302 vote, the effort was notable because it nonetheless garnered the support of the majority of the Democrats in the House. A total of 125 of the party’s representatives were for it, with only 93 against.
“A sixteen-year-old in 2021 possesses a wisdom and a maturity that comes from 2021 challenges, 2021 hardships, and 2021 threats,” said Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), one of the members of Congress behind the amendment to lower the voting age. “Now is the time for us to demonstrate the courage that matches the challenges of the modern-day sixteen- and seventeen-year-old.”
“Our young people, including 16- and 17-year-olds, continue to fight and advocate for so many issues that they are passionate about from gun safety to the climate crisis,” said Representative Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), who introduced the measure with Pressley and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). “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.”
Meng further argued, “After all, 16- and 17-year-olds are legally permitted to work and drive. 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.”
In a Facebook Live conversation with Representative Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and author Ibram X. Kendi, Pressley maintained she was “shocked by how polarizing an issue this was, and listen, when I would tell people [the late Representative] John Lewis is an original co-sponsor of this — you know, our young people deserve to have a stakeholder in our democracy.”
The amendment to lower the voting age was first attached to H.R. 1 in March of 2019, when the measure was killed after getting just 126 votes in the House.
The controversial H.R. 1, also known as the “For the People Act,” is a bill that would force states to eliminate safeguards against electoral fraud with the ostensible aim of promoting democracy, but which critics say would weaken election integrity and result in the federalization of elections.
Among the changes the legislation would cause would be mandating nationwide universal mail-in voting and requiring automatic and same-day registration while limiting states’ and localities’ ability to purge voter rolls. One of the biggest changes it would make would be to give independent commissions the job of drawing congressional districts, rather than letting state legislatures do it as the Constitution demands and as is currently the case.
The “For the People Act” would even provide a 6:1 taxpayer-funded match to federal campaigns for donations up to $200. This means that for a $200 donation, a candidate would get a federal match of $1,200.
In other words, if signed into law, H.R. 1 would cement many of the practices that observers on the Right believe contributed to voter fraud that threw the election in Joe Biden’s favor.
In 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) affirmed that she’s in favor of lowering the voting age.
“I think it’s really important to capture kids when they’re in high school, when they’re interested in all of this, when they’re learning about government, to be able to vote,” she said then.
As with the rest of the changes packed into H.R. 1, Democrats believe lowering the voting age would improve their chances come election season. After all, it’s the conventional wisdom that voters tend to become more conservative in their political views as they grow older.
Like the election-related items on the Democrat agenda, such as eliminating the Electoral College and giving statehood to Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, the aim is arguably less about “equity” and improving “democracy” than it is about expanding demographics sure to increase their power.
Both Puerto Rico and D.C., for example, given their current political makeup, would become blue states, meaning there would be more Democrats in the House and Senate and more electoral votes for the Democrat presidential candidate every election year.