Colorado Editorials

The Boulder Daily Camera: Let 16-year-olds vote in local elections

Author: Lisa Walton - September 9, 2018 - Updated: September 9, 2018

It looked last year like Boulder could become the first municipality in Colorado to lower the voting age to 16 for local elections. The effort to do so didn’t make it very far, and now a neighboring city has positioned itself to be the first — voters in Golden will decide in November whether to authorize the City Council to change the city’s minimum voting age from 18 to 16. Golden voters would be wise to approve the measure, and proponents in Boulder and other Colorado communities should follow their lead.

The 26th Amendment in 1971 established 18 as the national voting age, and that’s the norm at all levels of American government. In some states 17-year-olds may vote in primaries if they will turn 18 by election day, and Colorado is one of more than a dozen states that allows 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote. In 2013, Takoma Park, Md., became the first city in the United States to lower its voting age to 16. According to advocacy group Vote16 USA, the turnout rate among Takoma Park’s 16- and 17-year-olds in their first election was higher than for any other age group.


Lisa Walton