WASHINGTON -- By the 2020 presidential election, 16 and 17-year-olds may be able to vote in the nation's capital.
Washington, D.C. may lower the voting age for federal and local elections to 16. The legislation was introduced last Tuesday by D.C. council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who said he was inspired by the high schoolers that came to D.C. to protest at the March for our lives.
Advocates of the measure say they have the support of seven of 13, a majority of D.C. Council members.
"I think people are getting excited about this, especially with what's going on in the nation right now in terms of youth leading social change. So I think that people are going to be very excited about it and want to get on board," said Alisha Chopra, 18, a senior at School Without Walls.
The Parkland students who survived a mass shooting in February are already credited for changing laws in Florida.
Now, a group of young people in D.C. are working on getting the vote for 16 and 17-year-olds.
"We work, we pay taxes, we care for family members, we can drive, we can do so many other things. So, adding voting onto that isn't going to be that big of a responsibility. We can handle it," said Alex Shyer, a 16-year-old Sophomore at Woodrow Wilson High School.
The last time the voting age was changed in this country was four decades ago. The Vietnam War was raging, and students protested that it was unfair 18-year-old could be drafted but could not vote.
In 1971, Congress passed the 26th Amendment giving people 18 and older the right to vote.
In 2013, Takoma Park, Md., allowed 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in local elections, and other cities, including Berkely, Calif., also extended voting rights. But while cities can only extend voting rights in municipal elections, the District of Columbia is treated a state in some cases, and can, therefore, change the voting age to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote for President of the United States in addition to local elections.
Supporters of the legislation are hoping to have a public hearing set up in June and then a vote on the measure before the end of the year.