Three Massachusetts Members of Congress Backing Constitutional Amendment To Lower Voting Age To 16 Years Old

Printed from:

Repeal the 26th Amendment?

Three members of the United States House of Representatives who represent Massachusetts want to do it.

Thirteen U.S. House Democrats introduced House Joint Resolution 16 into the Republican-controlled House last week. U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D-New York) is the bill’s original sponsor.

It has 12 co-sponsors, all of whom are Democrats, three of whom are from Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Democrats who are original co-sponsors of the bill include: U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Hyde Park), U.S. Representative Seth Moulton (D-Salem), and U.S. Representative Lori Trahan (D-Westford).

The title of the bill is “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States extending the right to vote to citizens sixteen years of age or older.”

The bill would repeal the 26th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which lowered the voting age from 21 years old to 18 years old. It would add a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would lower the voting age further — from 18 years old to 16 years old.

Here is the text of the proposed amendment to the federal constitutional:


Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States extending the right to vote to citizens sixteen years of age or older.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

“Article — 

 Section 1. The twenty-sixth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

 Section 2. The right of citizens of the United States, who are sixteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

 Section 3. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”.


Both Moulton and Pressley have previously spoken out about their support for lowering the voting age to 16 years old. Trahan does not appear to have made any public statements on the matter.

In February 2020, Moulton issued a statement invoking the “No taxation without representation” slogan popularly used before the American Revolution.

“Americans put a lot of faith in 16-year-olds,” Moulton wrote. “We let them drive, hire them at our businesses, and make them pay taxes.”

The statement praised The Boston Globe for reporting on a teen-age voting activist named Sydney Down.

“Of all places, Boston knows the injustice of taxation without representation,” Moulton said. “The fact that we require working 16-year-olds to pay taxes but give them no say in that process is reason enough to lower the voting age. But Down makes an even stronger case:  We know that voting at an early age helps encourage civic habits for life. What’s more, her generation is directly affected by Congress’s inaction on gun violence, climate change, and financial policies such as student loan interest rates in ways that most older politicians are not.”

Pressley has spoken out in favor of allowing 16-year-olds to vote many times, including on the U.S. House floor in March 2019.

Here is what she said at that time:


From gun violence, to immigration reform, to climate change, to the future of work – our young people are organizing, mobilizing, and calling us to action. They are at the forefront of social and legislative movements and have earned inclusion in our democracy. 

Beginning at the age of sixteen, young people are contributing to both the labor force and their local economies by paying income taxes, and yet they are deprived of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

In this country, we affirm that when a person walks in to the voting booth and pulls that lever, there is no meritocracy or hierarchy. The booth is the equalizer. Despite many reasons in our lives for feeling invisible and small, my mother reminded me each election day, as a super-voter, that on this day, we were powerful.  I believed her then and I believe her now. When we step into that voting booth, we bring the totality of our lived experiences. The vote we cast absorbs and honors it all. 

Some have questioned the maturity of our youth. I don’t.

A sixteen-year-old in 2019 possesses a wisdom and a maturity that comes from 2019 challenges, hardships, and threats.


There is almost no chance this proposal will emerge from Congress this session. U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) controls which proposals come up for a vote, and Republicans generally oppose lowering the voting age from 18 years old to 16 years old.

It’s also an issue that divides Democrats.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1 on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 — a bill that never became law. It was a voting reform bill that includes provisions such as creating automatic voter registration across the country, allowing ex-felons to vote, expanding absentee voting, and requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns, among other things. It passed 220-210, with no Republicans voting in favor of it.

Although the bill was designed to make sweeping changes to the voting system in the country, not every proposed change was accepted by the House. The one amendment to the bill that Pressley proposed — lowering the voting age to 16 in federal elections — was rejected overwhelmingly.

Her amendment (N0. 57) failed 125-302. No Republicans voted in favor of it and 93 Democrats voted against it.

Of the nine U.S. House members from Massachusetts, seven voted in favor of Pressley’s amendment.  The only two who voted against the amendment were U.S. Representative Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston) and U.S. Representative Bill Keating (D-Bourne).

It was not the first time Pressley proposed this amendment. She proposed it in 2019, as well, and Congress overwhelmingly rejected it then, 126-305.

When asked whether or not 16- and 17-year-olds should have voting rights, Americans overwhelmingly rejected the idea in a 2019 poll conducted by The Hill. It found that 84 percent opposed letting 16-year-olds vote while 16 percent supported it. For 17-year-olds, there was more support. Although 75 percent rejected the idea, 25 percent supported it.

Younger voters tend to vote Democratic at a higher rate than their elder peers. CNBC’s exit poll from the 2020 presidential election showed that 65 percent of voters in the 18 to 24 range voted for President Joe Biden while just 31 percent voted for former President Donald Trump.

Press spokesmen for Moulton, Trahan, and Pressley could not be reached for comment on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.


New to NewBostonPost?  Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts.  But you’ve found it.  Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months.  And join the real revolution.