March 27, 2013
CONTACT: Katrina Schweitzer, (406) 444-4239
Secretary McCulloch Holds Celebration of 26th Amendment,
Which Gives 18 Year Olds the Right to Vote
HELENA - Secretary of State Linda McCulloch today joined high school students and Montanans in the State Capitol Rotunda to celebrate the passage of the 26th Amendment, which grants 18 year olds the right to vote.
“The passage of the 26th Amendment was a monumental victory for young Americans,” Secretary McCulloch said. “It proved that no matter if you are 18 or 81 your vote is important and matters in the democratic process.”
The 26th amendment was adopted during the Vietnam War when students were at the height of activism. They led demonstrations using the motto “Old Enough to Fight, Old Enough to Vote.” Eventually, Congress passed the Amendment in response to the activism.
Montana was the 8th state in the nation to ratify the Amendment on March 29th, 1971. The majority of states later followed, making it the fastest ratification in history.
“There is no cooler time to care about politics”, said University of Montana student Amy Sisk. “There are six people in their twenties that serve in the Montana Legislature. I’m confident they would agree that politics affects our lives. So, why not have a say in it?”
“It is important that everyone’s voice be heard in elections,” Secretary McCulloch added. “Every ballot helps to decide the future, and that future will primarily impact young adults. Their voice should be heard along with the voice of older generations.”
Former U.S. Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana was integral in gaining Congress’s support of the 26th Amendment. Mansfield argued that the 14th Amendment had a broad definition of citizenship, and granted Congress the power to lower the voting age.