The majority of House Democrats supported an amendment to lower the federal voting age to 16 as part of the H.R. 1 “voting rights” package Wednesday.
The vote failed to pass the House in a 125-302 vote, despite the majority of Democrats supporting the change 125-93.
Democrat Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley co-sponsored the amendment, and argued, “Now is the time for us to demonstrate the courage that matches the challenges of the modern-day sixteen- and seventeen-year-old.”
Pressley, a member of the leftist Squad, stated during a Facebook Live chat with California Democrat Representative Barbara Lee and author Ibram X. Kendi she was shocked that lowering the voting age is a polarizing topic.
Kendi argued lowering the voting age is an example of anti-racist policy.
Democrat New York Congresswoman Grace Meng said in a statement, “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.”
“They have been tremendously engaged on policies affecting their lives and their futures,” she added. “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.”
The amendment is not the first time an attempt to lower the federal voting age has been made. A similar measure was included in H.R. 1 in March 2019, falling with 126 House votes.
Last month, Meng reintroduced a separate bill that aims to lower the voting age to 16.
That legislation seeks to replace the 26th amendment to the Constitution with a new amendment that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote.
In addition to federal measures to lower the voting age, some states have introduced similar legislation.
Hawaii presented a bill in January that would lower the state’s voting age to 16.