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LOWERING THE VOTING AGE TO 18

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 1970

U.S. SENATE,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,

Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:40 a.m., in room 318, Old Senate Office Building, Senator Birch Bayh presiding.

Present: Senators Bayh and Cook.

Also present: Paul J. Mode, Jr., chief counsel and Laurie Telden, secretary.

Senator Bayh. I will ask the committee to come to order, if you please. And I will get started by reading a statement of mine. By then we hope that some of our subcommittee members will be present in order to hear our leadoff witnesses.

I ran across an interesting quote in some of the research that our staff has been doing on this matter of lowering the voting age, and it goes as follows:

In the age in which we live, in this fast age, men mature both in body and mind at a great deal earlier period than formerly.

Thus did Marcus Bickford urge lowering the voting age-at New York's Constitutional Convention in 1867. One might question whether this was true in 1867, considering the fashion in which our forefathers were living, but there can be no doubt about the wisdom of this statement as we sit here today, more than 100 years later. Today's 18-yearold is surely as qualified to vote in every meaningful respect as the 21-vear-old of 1867.

Today more than half of the 18-to-21-year-olds are receiving some type of higher education. Today nearly 80 percent of these young people are high school graduates. It is interesting to compare that with 1920, when less than 20 percent of our youngsters actually graduated from high school.

Of the nearly 11 million 18-to 21-year-olds today, about half are married and more than 1 million of them are responsible for raising families. Today more than 3 million young people, ages 18 to 21, are full-time employees and more importantly taxpayers. Another 1,400,000 are serving their country-its young and its old—in the Armed Forces.

In short, if, as some believe, young people have to earn the right to vote, then I believe that they have met the test.

The great English statesman, Benjamin Disraeli, once remarked a long time ago in assessing the accomplishments of mankind, that “almost everything that is great has been done by youth.” And the

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LOWERING THE VOTING AGE TO 18

HEARINGS

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY

UNITED STATES SENATE

NINETY-FIRST CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION

ON

S.J. RES. 7, S.J. RES. 19, S.J. RES. 32, S.J. RES. 34 S.J. RES. 38, S.J. RES. 73, S.J. RES. 87, S.J. RES. 102

S.J. RES. 105, S.J. RES. 141, S.J. RES. 147 Relating to Proposed Constitutional Amendments Lowering the

Voting Age to 18

February 16, 17, March 9, 10, 1970

Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary

U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

WASHINGTON : 1970

47-122

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