On Oct. 23, 2006, the last day for Californians to register to vote on Nov. 7, 15-year-old Natasha Hull-Richter, of Orange County, attempted to file her voter registration form at the county Registrar of Voters. The registration form accurately showed that she was 15 and she informed both the clerk and supervisor. The clerk and supervisor refused to accept the form. Also filing a registration form was 17-year-old Alexandar Hull-Richter. His registration form was accepted, but he was told he could not vote on Nov. 7.

Natasha asserted her rights under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which contains the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.

Natasha accumulated a list of names of approximately 400 Americans who have died in Iraq before their first opportunity to vote in a presidential election because they were too young to vote during the presidential election before their death. “Americans are being sent to die by leaders they did not elect before their first election,” she said.

Alexandar added, “When dying without a vote is at stake, the classification of age should receive a heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection clause.”

Natasha and Alexandar pay taxes and have piloted airplanes. They belong to a union and vote in union election. Natasha takes classes from Johns Hopkins University. Alexandar has taken college classes by examination. Both are active in Californian politics; they were largely responsible for the creation of the paper trail California voters get this year.

Natasha and Alexandar believe that bright and informed teenagers are the rule and not the exception. Both believe that the writers of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 intentionally left the door open to lowering the voting age by noting that any person with a sixth-grade education has the literacy, comprehension and intelligence to vote in any election.

Alexandar is a member of the board of directors of the National Youth Rights Association, the largest youth rights organization in America. Natasha is the President of the Orange County Chapter. NYRA is working to end age discrimination against youth in America.

ahr