Delegates at odds — proposal to lower voting age to 16 returns

Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 11:26 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - A constitutional amendment is being pitched for the 2023 General Assembly. A delegate wants Virginians to register to vote and cast ballots at the young age of 16 years old.

“I would like an explanation as to why drop the age down to from 18 to 16. Is it a magical number? Is it a rationale Or reason behind it? I don’t know any of those answers, so those are questions we take to the legislative process,” Delegate John Avoli said.

On top of wondering why, Avoli feels the civic duty of voting takes a certain level of maturity.

“We need to reach adulthood. We do have a law, and I am all for laws. When you have a rule, you have an expectation, that’s what it is. It’s not 16, it’s 18 at this point, and I think it would be a detriment to the country, to the commonwealth to change that and drop it down to 16,” Avoli said.

The chance of this proposal becoming law is up to voters. It also needs to be approved by the state legislature two years in a row.

“The Senate is controlled by the Democratic Party, and the house is controlled by the Republican Party, so you do have a checks and balance in between. We also have a Republican governor, so we’ll see what happens in the legislative process,” Avoli said.

Augusta County reports that voter turnout for 2022 includes 198 18-year-olds and 592 voters between the age of 19 and 21 years old.

This proposal for changing the voting age is only for local elections. Changing the minimum voting age for state and federal elections would require a change to the U.S. Constitution.