Bill proposes lowering Arizona Senate, House age requirement to 18

Jan 14, 2023, 7:15 AM
(Arizona Capitol Museum Photo)...
(Arizona Capitol Museum Photo)
(Arizona Capitol Museum Photo)

PHOENIX — A bipartisan group of Arizona House representatives introduced a bill to lower the age requirement to run for both chambers of the Arizona Legislature from 25 years old to 18 this week.

Republican Matt Gress sponsored the Arizona Civic Participation Act along with Republican Austin Smith and Democrat Cesar Aguilar. The bill is an Arizona constitutional amendment, so it will be placed on the next general election ballot if it passes in the legislature.

“Arizona’s young leaders are resilient, having overcome many personal, unprecedented challenges like a global pandemic,” Gress said in a press release. “I’m honored to push this legislation forward that encourages more young people to participate in the legislative process and involves them more in Arizona policy.”

Arizona, Colorado and Utah are the only three states in the country with an age requirement as high as 25 years old to run for state House.

The proposal follows a pattern of younger voter turnout in the state.

Voter turnout ages 18-29 jumped from 33% in the 2016 presidential election to 51% in 2020 and from 10% in the 2014 midterms to 26% in 2018, according to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

“As one of the youngest members of this year’s Arizona State Legislature, part of my role is to offer different perspectives on issues affecting people from my generation – we have many young, emerging state leaders looking to positively impact our communities,” Smith, 27, said in the release.

“The Arizona Civic Participation Act will give our younger citizens the opportunity to become more meaningfully engaged in our civic process which only helps build a better future for Arizona.”

A potential candidate must also be a resident of Arizona for at least three consecutive years to qualify under the amendment.

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Bill proposes lowering Arizona Senate, House age requirement to 18