Group pushing to lower voting age to 16 for local elections
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS) —
A nonprofit chapter called Vote16 Illinois is pushing to lower the voting age in local elections.
The group's goal is to lower the legal voting age for local elections to 16.
"Along the way, the idea is to get young people specifically high school students excited about politics," Vote16 board member, Sammy Kagan said.
The non-profit is working with local lawmakers to start the conversation.
"These are the people that are most engaged in doing research because that is their job everyday as students,” Rep. Kelly Cassidy said. “They are the ones that are doing work every day and we don’t require levels of knowledge before anyone else can vote."
A political science professor said that although some young people are knowledgeable, they won't show up to the polls.
“They tend to have pretty low participation rates compared to particularly like senior citizens," UIS professor Kent Redfield said.
Vote16 board member says lowering the legal voting age can change attract more teens to the polls.
"When you start voting at a younger age you are more likely to come back and vote again when you are older so you would she higher levels of turnout," Kagan said.
The group is pushing to vote in local elections and Rep. Kelly Cassidy said these are elections that affect their lives.
“If you think about it, those school board elections, those park district races, those city council races are the public policy that most directly affect the folks that are 16 and 17 years old,” Cassidy said.
Right now, there is no legislation to lower the age but Vote16 says they will continue to push.
There are 4 cities throughout the country that currently allow a 16 year old to vote in local election including Hyattsville, Maryland.
Another one of the cities is Takoma Park, Maryland and they lowered the voting age in 2013.