Last November, I had the pleasure of meeting with Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) and her Judicial Counsel in November in her Washington office. Meng introduced a bill to lower the voting age last summer, so I set up a meeting to discuss how we could work together to move the bill forward. I talked about how important this issue has been for NYRA’s members and how we have worked on other bills to lower the voting age. I also got to hear how Rep. Meng was inspired to grant sixteen and seventeen year olds voting rights through talking to young people in her district and realizing how much they cared about and were affected by policy.

Rep. Grace Meng meets with NYRA President Brian Conner in her office.
NYRA President Brian Conner met with Rep. Grace Meng to discuss youth rights.

While Meng’s original bill stalled in committee, she re-introduced a similar bill (H.J. Res. 23) on January 9, 2019. This bill seeks to lower the voting age to sixteen for all federal, state, and local elections through a Constitutional Amendment.

Since our conversation a few weeks ago, H.J. Res. 23 has already made progress. U.S. Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-IL) has signed on as a co-sponsor and Meng is continuing to reach out to more Representatives in support of the bill. NYRA is also contacting other members of Congress who have voiced their support for lower the voting age in the past.

Currently, the bill is referred to the Judiciary Committee. You can help move the bill along by contacting your representative and ask them to support the bill. You can also contact members of the Judiciary Committee to let them know that our members support giving young people voting rights. Individual members of the current House Judiciary Committee can be found on the Committee’s website.

You can also spread the word online through social media and get tips on how to contact your representative on our Working with Elected Officials page.

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