Twenty-Sixth Amendment

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Twenty-Sixth Amendment

The Twenty-sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Twenty-sixth Amendment was proposed on March 23, 1971, and ratified on July 1, 1971. The ratification period of 107 days was the shortest in U.S. history. The amendment, which lowered the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen, was passed quickly to avert potential problems in the 1972 elections.

The drive for lowering the voting age began with young people who had been drawn into the political arena by the Vietnam War. Proponents argued that if eighteen-year-olds were old enough to be drafted into military service and sent into combat, they were also old enough to vote. This line of argument was not new. It had persuaded Georgia and Kentucky to lower the minimum voting age to eighteen during World War II. The one flaw in the argument was that women were not drafted and were not allowed to serve in combat units if they enlisted in the armed forces.

Nevertheless, the drive for lowering the voting age gained momentum. In 1970 Congress passed a measure that lowered the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen in both federal and state elections (84 Stat. 314).

The U.S. Supreme Court, however, declared part of this measure unconstitutional in Oregon v. Mitchell, 400 U.S. 112, 91 S. Ct. 260, 27 L. Ed. 2d 272 (1970). The decision was closely divided. Four justices believed Congress had the constitutional authority to lower the voting age in all elections, four justices believed the opposite, and one justice, hugo l. black, concluded that Congress could lower the voting age by statute only in federal elections, not in state elections.

The Court's decision allowed eighteen-yearolds to vote in the 1972 presidential and congressional elections but left the states to decide if they wished to lower the voting age in their state elections. The potential for chaos was clear. Congress responded by proposing the Twenty-sixth Amendment, which required the states as well as the federal government to lower the voting age to eighteen.

References in periodicals archive ?
But in 1971, the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age to 18 from 21; in most states today, 18 is when most of your other rights and responsibilities also kick in.
In the 26th amendment to the Constitution of India promulgated in 1971, the government abolished all official symbols of princely states, including the titles, privileges and privy purses (remuneration).
In 2008, young people had their highest voter turnout since 1972, a year after the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age to 18 (left).
The 26th Amendment gave the vote to anyone age 18 or over.
One of the most controversial topics that we dealt with was whether the 26th Amendment should be changed so as to increase the voting age from 18 to 21.
26, named after the 26th Amendment to the Constitution giving citizens 18 years and older the right to vote, was designed by PennCORD students to empower other students to use their voices to speak up for what they believe in, realize what they can do to be an active citizen and help them understand the concept of advocacy.
The primary effect of the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18, was to significantly increase the number of nonvoters.
Next weekis Nice plebiscite will be the 26th amendment to be proposed in the past 65 years.
He said his own proudest political achievement was guiding the passage in 1971 of the 26th Amendment, lowering the voting age to 18.
I know of people who were asked difficult things like, `What's the 13th amendment' or, What's the 26th amendment,'" says Mary Ellen Ros of the New York Association for New Americans.
The OneVote program addresses the negative voting trend that began decades ago, when 18-20 year olds were granted the right to vote by the 26th Amendment.
The ratification that year of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution lowered the voting age to 18 from 21 nationwide, giving 10 million more Americans the right to vote.