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In Concord, Yang Pushes to Lower Voting Age to 16

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang told an audience of teenagers in Concord today that he wants to lower the voting age in America to 16. He argues it would help promote civic engagement among younger people.

Speaking inside a nearly full auditorium at Concord High School, the former tech entrepreneur said that while some teenagers may not seem well-informed, there are plenty of voting-age adults who also fall into that category.

“They’re called low information voters. There are a lot of people that are voting that don’t have a ton of background, so that argument against 16 year olds voting to me doesn’t hold water,” said Yang.

He also made the argument that if 16 year olds can earn income and pay taxes, they should have a say in how that money is spent.

Among students in the crowd in Concord, there appeared to be general support for the idea.

“I think if you were to give us the opportunity to vote, we would all be a lot more invested in this process, and it would teach us how to be knowledgeable, young adults, and actually participate in something that is a big part of our future,” said Niyanta Nepal, a junior and a member of the school’s campaign club which helped organize the event. “I do agree with it.”

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While voting issues including gerrymandering and disenfranchisement are frequently mentioned by Democratic candidates this primary cycle, the minimum age for voting isn’t breaking through as a pertinent issue.

Yang told the crowd he believes he is the only candidate who has publicly supported lowering the voting age.

Any change to the voting age in federal elections would likely require a constitutional amendment. In 1971, the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age in federal contests from 21 to 18.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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