D.C. Public Schools announced April 28 that just 46 percent of seniors in the District’s traditional high schools are on track to graduate in June.
Not to worry, however: The D.C. Council isn’t likely to let that minor detail stand in the way of allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote.
There’s a reason the Republican-controlled Congress hasn’t relinquished its role as a backstop on the excesses of D.C. home rule, as Democrats would like it to. Simply put, it’s because there’s no liberal idea too outlandish for the D.C. Council, which is a Republican-free zone with 11 Democrats and two nominal independents.
The latest example is the notion of lowering the voting age in the city to 16, and apparently there now is majority support for it on the 13-member D.C. Council.
It wasn’t always so. When D.C. Council Member Charles Allen first floated the idea back in 2015, it went nowhere fast—dying in committee, deservedly so.
Back then, Allen, Ward 6 Democrat, was unable to answer his own question to the satisfaction of his colleagues: “How can you convince me that a 16-year-old is mature enough, smart enough, engaged enough?”
But that was then, and this is now.
When Allen resurrected the idea in April, he didn’t have to do anything to persuade his colleagues to clamber aboard the bandwagon. A majority signed on as co-sponsors, and Mayor Muriel Bowser expressed support for the idea.
So, what has changed?
There hasn’t been any indication of academic improvement in the D.C. Public Schools in the three years since then to suggest that 16- and 17-year-olds are now suddenly “smart enough” to have the franchise extended to them.
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