Minnesota Democrats are proposing a constitutional amendment that would allow 16-year-olds to vote in Minnesota elections.
The language of the bill says that any “county, municipality, or school district may lower the voting age to 16 years of age for local elections.” The amendment would not allow for anyone under the age of 18 to vote in state or federal elections.
Representative Jeremy Munson (R- Lake Crystal) told Alpha News that he supports keeping the age of 18 for voting and it’s absurd that “Dems want people to vote at 16, but not be able to make other life choices until 21 or 25.” He adds that we should not allow our kids to be subjected to “negative advertisements, slander, and deceit inherent in the current political campaigns.”
Minnesota has seen a surge in voter turnout for younger age groups, especially the 18-29-year-old bloc. Democrats consider this to be good news, as younger voters tend to support progressive candidates more. Minnesota Democrats are capitalizing on support from this voter bloc by looking to expand it.
The proposed constitutional amendment by Minnesota house democrats fits into larger movement by the party to lower the voting age to 16. Minnesota’s 5th congressional district representative, Ilhan Omar, supports these measures as well.
Alpha News also spoke with Tate Thielfoldt, a Senior at Blue Earth Area High School who says that at age 16 and 17 he had opinions “directly reflective of what [his] parents told” him and he believes this trend would “follow with most other underage teens.” He adds that people this age generally don’t hold a “well thought out opinion” even though many care about the issues.
Megan Olson is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and history. She works in public affairs in addition to serving on the Legislative Advisory Council for School District 196. She is also on the school board for FIT academy, a charter school in Apple Valley.