California voting age potentially to be lowered to 17

New Amendment referred to Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee


Alex Goldbeck/Talon

Oak Park High School student Alex Goldbeck and other students from around the state rally behind state senators to lower the voting age to 17 at Sacramento Capital.

By Juliette Setudeh-Nejad, Oak Park High School - CA

A new bill about the voting age in California, Assembly Constitutional Amendment Eight (ACA-8), has passed in the state assembly and has been referred to the Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee.

The bill states that “a United States citizen who is at least 17 years of age and resident in the state [of California] may vote. As of now, the Constitution allows a US citizen who is at least 18 years of age and a resident of the state they are voting in to vote.”

ACA-8 was introduced by Evan Low, Randy Voepel and Lorena Gonzalez. an Assemblymember from the 28 California Assembly District. There are currently 31 co-authors, but Sen. Henry Stern, representing the 27 district in California, is the principal co-author and Senate lead on the bill.

The bill is a “resolution to propose to the people of the State of California an amendment to the Constitution of the State, by amending Section 2 of Article II thereof, relating to elections.”

This bill is a Constitutional Amendment, so in order to pass it needs a two-thirds vote of the body in the Senate. If it is passed in both chambers, House of Representatives and Senate, it would appear on the November 2020 ballot for voter approval.

Stern has been on the forefront of issues facing the younger generation as they will be the most affected by what is to come.

“By lowering California’s pre-registration age to 15, we have the opportunity to further empower the next generation of voters by closing an inefficient and unnecessary hole in the system,” Stern said.

According to Low’s website, “Research shows that the earlier in life a person votes, the more likely they are to form a lifelong habit of voting.”

Senior Daniel Nuban said that the new amendment, if passed, would greatly help our future generation of voters.

“I think the new amendment will greatly increase the amount of young voters that are participating in the election,” Nuban said

The bill is sponsored by numerous organizations such as the California League of Conservation Voters, the League of Women Voters of California, Equality California, March for Our Lives California, NextGen California, Rock the Vote, the Courage Campaign and the Sierra Club California, only a fraction of the over 50 more organizations and individuals have expressed their support for the bill.

“Giving young people a voice and the ability to go to the ballot box is an important way to engage them,” a representative from the Capitol Office said.

If the bill is passed, it will be included on the ballot for the 2020 elections.

This story was originally published on The Oak Park Talon on February 10, 2020.