Youth Voting Rights Act

Just like the 15th and 19th Amendments prohibit the denial of the right to vote on account of race, color, previous condition of servitude, and gender, the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits denying the right to vote based on age to anyone over the age of 18.  However, 50 years later the full promise of the 26th Amendment remains unfulfilled.  Much like the Voting Rights Act was needed to fully realize the 15th Amendment’s purpose, Sen. Warren and Rep. William’s Youth Voting Rights Act is crucial to finally realizing the purpose of the 26th Amendment and creating structures that actually welcome-in the newest members of our democracy.

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Empower individuals to enforce their voting rights in court.

The bill creates a legal structure, with a private right of action, for individuals and the government to enforce voting rights in court.

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Allow young people to pre-register to vote so they can participate as soon as they turn 18.

The bill requires states to allow pre-registration for 16- and 17-year olds, increasing the chance young people are registered to vote at high school or the department of motor vehicles and able to vote as soon as they are old enough.

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Expands opportunities to register to vote at public colleges and universities.

Just like states’ Department of Motor Vehicles, the bill designates public colleges and universities as “voter registration agencies” under the National Voter Registration Act.

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Requires on-campus access to voting sites.

The bill meets young people where they already are by requiring local elections officials to place on-campus voting sites.

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Guarantees student ID is accepted as voter ID where required.

The bill mandates that states with voter ID requirements accept student IDs for that purpose.

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Codifies a student’s right to vote from their campus address.

The bill extends the prohibition on durational residency requirements from Presidential and Vice Presidential to all federal elections, and confirms a student’s right to vote from a college domicile.

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Creates a grant program for youth involvement in elections.

The bill creates a grant program for states to involve youth in elections, through paid fellowships for young people working with state and local officials and for pre-registration efforts and updated civic curricula.

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Gather data on youth voter registration and participation.

The bill requires the federal government to study voter registration and voting trends by age to inform future efforts to improve youth participation in elections.