The 26th Amendment

26th Amendment

26th Amendment
March for the right for 18-year-olds to vote, Seattle 1969; Source: National Education Association

Vietnam Era Efforts

The war in Vietnam and the return of the draft brought the issue to the forefront again. In 1969, no fewer than 60 resolutions were introduced in Congress to lower the minimum voting age, but none resulted in any action. Finally, in 1970 Congress passed a bill extending and amending the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which contained a provision that lowered the voting age to 18 in federal, state and local elections.

Enacting the Amendment

By the following year, there was enough support in Congress to pass the 26th Amendment that officially lowered the voting age to 18. On March 10, 1971, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously in favor of the proposed amendment. It was ratified by the necessary majority of 38 states, and signed into law by President Richard Nixon.

Watch the 26th Amendment Certification Ceremony with President Nixon and Youth in 1971:

Twenty-sixth Amendment Certification Ceremony

Twenty-sixth Amendment Certification Ceremony; Source: Richard Nixon Library