OAKLAND (CBS SF) — It was a night of split decisions Tuesday night when it came to lowering the voting age in the state and in San Francisco and Oakland.
A state ballot measure that would have lowered the voting age to 17 — Proposition 18 — was losing with 55 percent of the 11,564,527 ballots cast rejecting it.
Meanwhile, Measure G which would have lowered the voting age in local elections to 16-years-old in San Francisco lost with 51 percent of the 211,886 ballots cast rejecting the proposal. Had it passed San Francisco would have become the first major U.S. city to allow voters as young as 16 to vote in municipal elections.
Across the Bay, Measure QQ was passed by Oakland voters allowing students as young as 16 years old to vote in Oakland Unified School District school board elections.
Before Election Day, Keith Brown, president of the Oakland Education Association, which represents teachers and staff in the school
district, said that school board decisions impact students’ education and their futures.
The association supported the measure, which was the brainchild of students. Before Tuesday’s election, all City Council members were in support of Measure QQ.
In 2013, the Washington, DC suburb of Takoma Park, Maryland became the first U.S. city to lower the voting age to 16. Hyattsville, another DC suburb followed suit. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia now allow those who are 17 but will be 18 by the general election to vote in primaries. A handful of countries also allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote.
Aside from establishing a lifelong habit of voting, research also shows young people voting makes their parents more likely to vote as well. Critics of lowering the voting age say 16- and 17-year-olds are not mature enough to vote, don’t have enough awareness of civics, history or politics, and don’t have enough life experiences. Conservatives also note that younger voters tend to lean toward more liberal causes.