Lower the Voting Age in San Mateo County

Lower the Voting Age in San Mateo County

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Vote16 SMC started this petition to San Mateo County

What is Vote16 SMC?

Vote16 SMC is a campaign to raise awareness on voting age issues, broaden youth civic engagement, and lower the voting age in San Mateo County. 

We are a non-partisan initiative to lower the voting age to 16 for local elections in San Mateo County, California. Founded and led by a team of civically engaged youth, we aim to empower youth to have a voice in local politics by raising community awareness, garnering political support, and building a coalition of local leaders and organizations.

Why lower the voting age?

  • Establishes voting as a lifelong habit
    • The United States trails most developed nations in voter turnout. In local communities and foreign nations that have implemented a lower voting age, 16- and 17-year-olds consistently turn out at a higher rate than traditional first-time voters ages 18-20.
  • Youth have a stake in the game and are invested in their future
    • Prominent political issues in San Mateo County, including climate change, education development, racial justice, and gun control, all currently impact youth, and the legislation and elected leaders of today will determine the future wellbeing of 16- and 17-year-olds.
  • A lower voting age increases civic engagement and political awareness 
    • When 16 and 17 year-olds gain the right to vote, schools will be pushed to implement civics courses, which will help students to learn about the electoral process and how their decisions affect their communities.

Common Myths:

  • 16-year-olds aren’t mature enough to vote
    • The youth who register and take action in order to vote will be those youth who are driven to make a difference with their vote, meaning that they will think out the choices they will make before voting. This kind of thinking has been proven to be fully developed by the age of 16, so youth will be on a level playing field with adults when it comes to mental ability to make decisions on their ballots.
  • 16-year-olds will make poor voting decisions
    • In our present time–the height of the information age–teenagers are more informed about politics and current events than ever before. Through the internet and social media, teenagers have often cultivated informed political opinions for years before turning 16, many of which differ from their parents.
  • If we lower the voting age to 16, what’s stopping us from lowering it to 14, or even younger?
    • Just as age 18 carries a weight in our society, the age of  16 carries a similar weight–this is when teenagers can get their driver's licenses and begin working as many hours as they choose. Additionally, there has been research that has indicated that, although 16-year-olds are cognitively equal to most voters 18 years old, 15-year-olds typically are not, making 16 a logical biological boundary.

For sources, more information, and to get involved in our movement, go to vote16smc.org!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 50!
At 50 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!