Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

From today’s Washington Post:

If all had gone as planned, thousands of high-schoolers in Oakland would have cast their ballots for the first time on Election Day. Many of them had worked since their freshman year to lower the voting age to 16 for school board races, arguing that no one had a higher stake in who led their district. And they won, convincing a supermajority of the electorate in 2020 to expand voting rights to younger teens.

But Alameda County, which runs the city’s elections, never implemented the measure. It also failed to deliver on a 2016 ballot initiative from Berkeley that did the same thing. So Tuesday passed like election days past: with 16- and 17-year-olds watching from the sidelines.

“It was a step closer to a right to vote,” said Rochelle Berdan, 17, who worked on the Oakland campaign. She said it felt like she and her peers were given “false hope” that they would finally have a voice. “It’s always the adults making decisions on behalf of us … we deserve to have a say in the things that impact us.”

In a cycle when many feared vote tampering, interference and intimidation from right-wing activists, it was a textbook case of voter suppression: Teens who had worked hard to win the franchise were denied the right to vote, a failure that also thwarted the will of 67 percent of voters in Oakland and 70 percent in Berkeley. The 2022 election did see widespread disenfranchisement — in the deep-blue Bay Area.

Read the complete story here.

By Editor