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Bill to Lower the Voting Age in DC to 16 Gains Eighth Supporter on DC Council

Councilmember Elissa Silverman (At-large) States Her Support in Response to Vote16DC Advocacy Efforts


October 10, 2018

Contact: Dave Chandrasekaran, Vote16DC Campaign Manager


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Vote16DC has secured the support of an additional member of DC council, making it eight of the 13 Councilmembers who are in favor of lowering the voting age in DC to 16. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (At-large) announced her support at a youth-focused at-large Councilmember Candidate Forum Monday afternoon in response to questions from students involved with Vote16DC.

That Youth Vote Amendment Act of 2018 would lower the minimum age to vote in DC to 16. The bill was introduced in April by Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, who was joined by six co-introducers. Since then, the Vote16DC campaign has mobilized hundreds of DC youth, organizations, and residents to advocate to DC leaders about the benefits of granting voting rights to 16 and 17-year-olds.

“I was surprised and excited at the same time when Councilmember Silverman said she was in support of the voting age being lowered to 16,” said Ward 7 resident Monae Scott, 17-year-old senior at the SEED School of Washington, DC and a Vote16DC Youth Leader. “She listened to us state our case and actually took in what we had to say, and I’m glad we have her on board.”

More than 50 people testified at the bill’s hearing in June, more than half of whom were DC youth. Every single witness indicated support for the measure. A growing number of DC leaders have also voiced support, including DC Attorney General Karl Racine, Ward-6 Member of the DC State Board of Education Joe Weedon, and several Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners.

“I’m glad to hear that Councilmember Silverman supports lowering the voting age because it shows that she values youth voices,” says Chloe Ifill, Vote16DC Youth Leader and a 16-year-old Ward 7 resident who is a Junior at Woodrow Wilson High School.

The DC Office of Planning estimates that there are approximately 10,400 16- and 17-year-olds in the District, with nearly 80 percent identified as youth of color.

“We are so thankful to Councilmember Silverman for hearing the voices of these youth advocates and coming out in favor of this historic initiative,” says Dave Chandrasekaran, Vote16DC Campaign Manager and Ward 1 resident. “We believe it will positively impact and empower not just young people, but all members of the DC community, particularly communities of color.”

The six co-introducers joining Councilmember Allen include Councilmembers David Grasso (At-large), Anita Bonds (At-large), Robert White (At-large), Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1), Vincent Gray (Ward 7), and Trayon White (Ward 8). The bill will likely be debated and voted on during a Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety meeting later this month. If approved by a majority of the Committee’s five members, it would go to the full DC Council for its consideration, where a majority of eight are on board. Vote16DC‘s goal is to pass and implement the voting age change in time to enable 16- and 17-year-old DC youth to vote in the June 2020 Primary Election.


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