If you have the right to drive, you should have the right to drop that vote in the box too, right? That’s just some of the thinking behind the teenagers 16 years of age and older who are participating in the Vote 16 movement, whose latest manifestation is a ballot called Measure VY in Culver Valley that will be voted on today and will decide whether or not the teens can have the right to vote in city and school board elections, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Those that support the bill argue that teenagers are mature enough to vote, plus they can work and pay taxes.
“This is my issue, this is my life that I live through that I should be in charge of instead of having adults make all the decisions,” said 16-year-old Melissa Rodriguez, who goes to Fremont High School in Oakland. “So pushing this is really empowering for me and my community. ” Teens from the Bay Area to Oregon to Colorado are exploring getting the vote, according to the Times.
In Culver City, Measure VY’s main opponent is Steven Gourley, a retired attorney who has served as mayor, councilman and school board president there.
“Virtually everyone I have approached does not know it’s on the ballot,” Gourley told the Times. “When I tell them what it is, they say, ‘Sixteen, are they crazy?’ I talk to people who’ve had teenagers and I talk to teachers who taught in the high school, and they say that these people are too young to vote.”
Teenagers demanding suffrage isn’t unique to Culver City. Beginning a decade ago, several towns in Maryland started agitating for it, and six places in that state allow 16- and 17- year-olds to vote in some elections, according to the Times. Just over 49.2 percent voted for a similar measure as the Culver City teens in 2020, and in 2016, Berkeley allowed 16-year-olds and older to vote in school board elections—however, they have not found way to implement the measure, so the teens still can’t vote.
Countries such as Argentina, Austria and Malta allow their citizens to vote at age 16.