Student Voice, Student Vote (SV2) is a coalition of organizations and individuals seeking to change Colorado state law to allow 16- and 17-year olds the right to vote in school board elections. HB 20-1149 would empower 16 & 17 year olds to vote in school board elections and mill levy bond questions in Colorado. For the sake of our democracy’s health and viability, we need voting to be a habit that starts early. We know that the younger a person gets to vote for the first time, the more likely they will develop a habit of voting for the rest of their lives. AND, there’s research to show that young people voting will increase their parents’ participation rates, too.
- Democracy (This bill is an investment in our democracy for generations to come)
- Youth who are civically-engaged are also more likely to stay engaged throughout adulthood. Expanding the voting age to 16 may increase participation rates of voters 18+ over time. “Research suggests that casting a ballot at 16 or 17 could develop a lifelong habit.
- Justice (It’s not right to keep students out of conversations about policies that affects them every day)
- Students currently have little to no representation in how school policies or curriculum are shaped, yet they bare the impacts of them daily – that isn’t fair, right or just. Students are experts in their own education and the way policies impact them, and they should be able to make their expertise heard and felt by voting in school board races, not just being invited to another advisory group.
- Learning (It’s more important than ever for young people to know how to be effective participants of their democracy, and practice is the best way to learn those lessons)
- We know that the younger a person gets to vote for the first time, the more likely they will develop a voting habit of voting for the rest of their lives. AND, there’s research to show that young people voting will increase their parents’ participation rates, too.
- Responsibility (Students will take greater responsibility for their schools and education – and therefore perform better – if they feel a genuine sense of ownership)
- Students shouldn’t be the only voice in the conversation, but they shouldn’t be the only voices kept out. Voting in school elections will provide deeper motivation for to feel ownership, agency, and responsibility over one’s schools and education.
We need your help contacting members of the House State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee, who will be the first group of Colorado legislators to vote on our bill this March:
Chair, Chris Kennedy – firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice Chair, Sonya Jaquez Lewis – email@example.com
Monica Duran – firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen Humphrey – email@example.com
Cathy Kipp – mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Lontine – mailto:email@example.com
Janice Rich – mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily Sirota – mailto:email@example.com
Dave Williams – mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information and resources, go to: www.studentvoicestudentvote.org