On Monday, January 31st, I introduced SB 5621, legislation that would allow students ages 14 and older to vote in school board elections in their school districts. This bill was brought to me over the summer by a group of highly engaged and well-organized students in Seattle Public Schools.
These students had done their homework on the history of grassroots activism on young peoples’ right to vote and are clearly motivated on the issue far beyond the confines of a civic education class project. They even have a Face Book page for their proposal called the ‘Campaign to End Education Without Representation.’
I am impressed that Seattle has young people who are engaged in the political process such that they would come up with a proposal and bring it to a legislator who cares about K-12 education. Kids are always forced to listen to adults, but adults can learn a lot from listening to young people.
Giving consideration to a well-researched policy idea, especially one brought forward by a group of bright and organized young people, is a key part of my job as a legislator. To be sure, there would be very real challenges associated with implementing the legislation, such as verifying voter eligibility and increasing the number of different ballots printed and issued by an elections office. However, irrespective of one’s position on the issue or the likelihood that the bill will pass, it is certainly worth having a conversation about this issue.