Vote 16 Illinois pushes for lower voting age for local elections

By Cole Lauterbach
Illinois News Network

CHICAGO — While Illinois lawmakers and local officials are considering raising the legal age to smoke and own firearms, a push to lower the voting age is gaining steam.

“Each age line should be set at what makes the most sense in that particular behavior and that particular activity,” he said.

Allowing local votes at 16 would require changing the state’s constitution. The Illinois Constitution would have to be amended to allow only home-rule municipalities the option to lower their age requirement. It’s not impossible. It was changed via referendum in 1988 to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, where it stands now.

Eighteen would still be the age limit for elections with federal consequences.

Klugman said cities in Alabama, California and Maryland have allowed voting at 16 for certain local elections. Washington D.C. is currently debating a similar measure.

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