Assemblyman Evan Low Pushes to Lower State Voting Age to 17

Evan Low knows about getting involved in politics at an early age. Elected to the state Assembly in 2014, he became the youngest Asian-American legislator in California’s history.

Now he’s working to challenge another governmental age restriction: lowering the statewide voting age to 17.

“I chair the elections committee,” Low (D-Campbell) told San Jose Inside. “My focus has been on the electoral process. As a millennial and a political science teacher, this issue is near and dear to me.”

With the help of a bipartisan caucus made up of other millennials, including teenagers, Low co-authored Assembly Constitutional Amendment 10. Although 17-year-olds are allowed to vote in primary elections if they turn 18 prior general election, this effort would expand voting rights directly to 17-year-olds. For Low, it’s a matter of maximizing accessibility, minimizing voter suppression and creating better representation for younger demographics.

According to Low’s office, only 8.2 percent of eligible youth between the ages of 18 and 24 voted in California’s 2014 general election.

“So what happens at 18? A typical person at 18, they are going to school elsewhere, they’re leaving,” Low said. “So the questions is, do I register at San Diego State or back home?”

At the age of 17, he added, teenagers are generally still engaged in high school studies of American government. However, there is a static area for civic involvement prior to leaving for college. A lower voting age, Low said, would encourage high schools to integrate voting into the curriculum.

In effect, the proposal would instill a sense of civic responsibility in voting, making it a rite of passage into democratic adulthood.

Low compared his effort to how tobacco companies have courted young people to smoke. “They wanted to instill in them this habit,” he said.

The only difference, of course, is voting won’t kill you.

ACA 10 passed through the Assembly Elections Committee on May 10. It now advances to the Assembly, where it will require a 2/3 majority to move on to the Senate.

16 Comments

  1. Wow Even, why not sign them up when they are 10 about the time tobacco companies try to cort kids. Might it be the program that corrupts the mind with party politics starts in government schools in kindergarten, with a free lunch?

    Maybe can start by playing recordings of Hillary screeching to un-aborted fetuses still in the womb…….

    Come on Even start thinking like a real BIG BROTHER!

  2. What an idiot. At 17 they haven’t had enough time and experience to shake off the leftest indoctrination they have just lived through in the schools.

  3. Is this Grandstanding or just plain stupid?

    Campbell voters should reassess what was going through their minds by voting for this clown.

    David S. Wall

  4. Evan Low’s desire to expand the unfit-to-vote population is understandable given its critical role in his elevation to elected office, and his amendment proposal should be recognized as just another legislative insult to that most endangered of minorities: intelligent California voters.

    Examine the logic expressed in this piece:

    — minimize voter suppression
    You can’t suppress the voting rights of those too young to vote, just as you can’t suppress the driving privileges of toddlers.

    — creating better representation for younger demographics
    The inclusion of age minimums in the state constitution was based on what was once an accepted truth: the interests of the young are best represented by their mature, experienced elders. If Mr. Low doesn’t share this perception he should have the courage to say so publicly and provide evidence that teenagers (too young to sign contracts) should have a political voice equal to that of adults.

    — encourage high schools to integrate voting into the curriculum
    Was it necessary to lower the age of consent before sex education was integrated into the curriculum? Were kids given cars so the schools would start driver’s education? And this guy’s an educator?

    — make voting a habit
    The mindlessness implied in comparing the thoughtful evaluation a candidate’s potential to effectively govern to an engrained habit like buckling-up in the car is only surpassed by the mindlessness of suggesting (on Memorial Day weekend, no less) that voting cannot carry deadly consequences.

  5. Not sure what you mean by “static area.” I kind of know what you mean, but you definitely lost some clarity there. Sometimes it’s better to just say something in the most simple way.

    >In effect, the proposal would instill a sense of civic responsibility in voting, making it a rite of passage into democratic adulthood.

    This is a weird sentence, too. Not very journalistically objective, and why would it make voting into a rite of passage? It doesn’t seem like a fundamental change to act of voting is being proposed, which makes this description seem a tad melodramatic.

    I’m sorry if this comment comes off as condescending, but reading this article I couldn’t help but focus on your writing.

    • > Sometimes it’s better to just say something in the most simple way.

      Excellent observation.

      > This is a weird sentence, too. . . . . I’m sorry if this comment comes off as condescending, but reading this article I couldn’t help but focus on your writing.

      A healthy indication that your BS detector is working.

  6. Low clearly established his credentials as an elitist with his comment that the “typical” 18 year-old is going away to college somewhere other than home.

  7. > Now he’s working to challenge another governmental age restriction: lowering the statewide voting age to 17.

    I thought people under the age of 26 were still “children”, and insurance companies had to allow their parents to buy health insurance for them.

    If we allow children to vote, won’t we inevitably have “government by the children”?

    People who think “childocracy” is a good idea should read William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”.

  8. This goes under the heading of “how did you get this job?” Let me see Assemblyman Low, you have to prove your worth by trying to pass something….anything…… that makes absolutely no sense at all. The “wake up call” needs nothing more than for you to look in the mirror. Any mirror and discover the responsibility you need to hold your office. But this, is totally irresponsible.

  9. wtf is wrong with you people, what magic do you think exists that make people SO much more able to vote at 18 than 17? That’s not how these things work. Your parents thought you were idiots too and you hated it, why are you treating the next generations as such?

    • When I was 18 the voting age was 21, looking at election results since then I’m sure it should only have been granted to 18 year old’s serving in the military. They earned that right!

  10. Government stats show that 17 year olds are not sufficiently mature to drive cars as safely as the rest of us, and insurance companies rate them accordingly. And Low wants to let them vote?!