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Booker on Lowering Voting Age to 16: ‘I Want to Consider It’

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) speaks during a rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and to avoid a government shutdown on Jan. 19, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON – Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said he would consider lowering the legal voting age from 18 to 16.

“I sincerely have not given that any thought. It’s the first time I’ve ever been asked to think about 16-year-old voters, but I do think localities should be able to make that decision,” Booker said during a news conference on Wednesday about the “Help Students Vote Act,” which he has introduced in the Senate.

Following the press conference, PJM told Booker that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said in the past she supports lowering the voting age to 16.

“Oh, she does? I just never thought of it before, so I want to consider it. I mean, my immediate reaction is I’m attracted to the idea but I’d like to consider it,” Booker, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, replied.

The District of Columbia City Council is currently considering a proposal to lower the legal voting age to 16.

According to Booker’s office, the Help Students Vote Act would “require institutions of higher education to make a good faith effort to distribute voter registration forms to each student at least twice a year by sending an email twice a year, and no less than 30 days before voter registration deadlines for federal and state elections, with links to voter registration information as well as designating a staff member or office as the ‘Campus Vote Coordinator’ to answer student questions about voter registration.”

So far, organizations including Young Invincibles, Voto Latino and Center for American Progress Action have endorsed the legislation.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) introduced the bill in the House.

“I want you to imagine a future where all young Americans engage in voting. Think of how different public policy issues would be treated if these young Americans voted in their numbers. Think of how we would deal with environmental issues. Think of how we would deal with net neutrality, Think of how we would deal with this scourge of gun violence,” Krishnamoorthi said at the press conference.

“Think of how we would deal with college affordability and student debt,” he added. “I think Sen. Booker would agree with me, I think we would probably deal with them differently than we’re doing right now – but it starts with young students voting. Unfortunately, they are not today. Twenty percent of students currently said they are not registered to vote because they didn’t know how.”