State resolution could change Arizona voting age to 16

Jan 28, 2015, 6:00 AM | Updated: 6:00 am

PHOENIX — Sixteen is the new 18 for a group of nine Democratic State Representatives seeking to change the state’s legal voting age.

The group has introduced a resolution that would look to drop the Arizona’s voting age by two years.

“I wanted to change the voting age to 16 because really, they have jobs, they’re taxed, they can have adult criminal charges against them and they have a really huge stake in our political process,” said Stefanie Mach (D-10) who is one of the resolution’s prime sponsors.

Mach said lowering the age to vote in Arizona would include a new demographic of voters that are currently not represented.

“They really do bring a unique perspective that we often ignore and truly they need to be included in a lot more of these discussions,” she said.

Sixteen and 17-year-old students could be particularly insightful on the way the state’s school system is handled because they are directly affected by it, Mach said.

In addition to providing a young demographic of voters, Mach said the change could also invite more civic participation.

“I would say the best way to engage people in civics, is to practice it,” she said.

The resolution, called HCR 2018, would require passage by the Arizona House and Senate where it would then be sent to the Secretary of State’s office to be placed on the next general election ballot in 2016. Arizona voters would then have to approve the change for the voter age to officially become 16.

Mach added that the resolution would only allow people 16 and older to vote on state initiatives because the federal voting age would still require someone to be at least 18 to weigh in on federal issues such as the presidency.

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State resolution could change Arizona voting age to 16