SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco and Oakland are considering lowering the voting age to 16 on certain municipal ballot issues.
On Tuesday, the Oakland City Council will decide whether to allow 16 and 17-year-old residents to vote in the Oakland School Board elections.
The Oakland Youth Vote measure, authored by City Council President Rebecca Kaplan, has garnered support from Mayor Libby Schaaf as well as other city leaders and local organizations.
The measure is expected to be on the November ballot and, if passed, would make Oakland the fifth city in the nation to allow people as
young as 16 to vote. Voters in Berkeley already passed a similar measure back in 2016.
Also appeared headed for the November ballot is a proposed charter amendment that would give voting rights to 16- and 17-year-old city residents for municipal elections.
The measure would make San Francisco the first major U.S. city to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections, according to the office of board president Norman Yee.
“We need to ensure that young people have the opportunity to build a habit of voting as early as possible, and continue to participate in our democracy across their lifetime,” Yee told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We know that the issues we vote on as a city don’t just impact everyone over 18 and older.”
The young voters would have to meet all of the qualifications for voter registration under state law besides the 18-year-old age minimum and would have to register to vote with the city’s Department of Elections, according to the language in the proposed charter amendment.
The movement to lower the voting age is also gaining momentum on the state level.
Two bills were introduced last year in the state assembly to lower the voting age to 17 years old through new constitutional amendments. Their fate currently rests in the hands of the state Senate.
The first — ACA4 — would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections. A second — ACA8 — would lower the voting age to 17 for all elections.