Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution

The Twenty-sixth Amendment (Amendment XXVI) to the United States Constitution established a nationally standardized minimum age of 18 for participation in state and local elections. It was proposed by Congress on March 23, 1971, and it was ratified by three-quarters of the states by July 1, 1971.

Various public officials had supported lowering the voting age during the mid-20th century, but were unable to gain the legislative momentum necessary for passing a constitutional amendment.

The drive to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 grew across the country during the 1960s and was driven in part by the military draft held during the Vietnam War. The draft conscripted young men between the ages of 18 and 21 into the United States Armed Forces, primarily the U.S. Army, to serve in or support military combat operations in Vietnam.[1] This means young men could be required to fight and possibly die for their nation in wartime at 18. However, these same citizens could not have a legal say in the government's decision to wage that war until the age of 21. A youth rights movement emerged in response, calling for a similarly reduced voting age. A common slogan of proponents of lowering the voting age was "old enough to fight, old enough to vote".[2]

Determined to get around inaction on the issue, congressional allies included a provision for the 18-year-old vote in a 1970 bill that extended the Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court subsequently held in the case of Oregon v. Mitchell that Congress could not lower the voting age for state and local elections. Recognizing the confusion and costs that would be involved in maintaining separate voting rolls and elections for federal and state contests, Congress quickly proposed and the states ratified the Twenty-sixth Amendment.



Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.[3]



The framers of the U.S. Constitution did not establish specific criteria for national citizenship or voting qualifications in state or federal elections. Before the Twenty-sixth Amendment, states had the authority to set their own minimum voting ages, which was typically twenty-one as the national standard.[4]

Senator Harley Kilgore began advocating for a lowered voting age in 1941 in the 77th Congress.[5] Despite the support of fellow senators, representatives, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Congress failed to pass any national change. However, public interest in lowering the voting age became a topic of interest at the local level. In 1943 and 1955 respectively, the Georgia and Kentucky legislatures approved measures to lower the voting age to 18.[6]

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his 1954 State of the Union address, became the first president to publicly support prohibiting age-based denials of suffrage for those 18 and older.[7] During the 1960s, both Congress and the state legislatures came under increasing pressure to lower the minimum voting age from 21 to 18. This was in large part due to the Vietnam War, in which many young men who were ineligible to vote were conscripted to fight in the war, thus lacking any means to influence the people sending them off to risk their lives. "Old enough to fight, old enough to vote" was a common slogan used by proponents of lowering the voting age. The slogan traced its roots to World War II, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt lowered the military draft age to 18.

In 1963, the President's Commission on Registration and Voting Participation, in its report to President Lyndon Johnson, encouraged lowering the voting age. Johnson proposed an immediate national grant of the right to vote to 18-year-olds on May 29, 1968.[8] Historian Thomas H. Neale argues that the move to lower the voting age followed a historical pattern similar to other extensions of the franchise; with the escalation of the war in Vietnam, constituents were mobilized and eventually a constitutional amendment passed.[9]

Those advocating for a lower voting age drew on a range of arguments to promote their cause, and scholarship increasingly links the rise of support for a lower voting age to young people's role in the civil rights movement and other movements for social and political change of the 1950s and 1960s.[10][11] Increasing high-school graduation rates and young people's access to political information through new technologies also influenced more positive views of their preparation for the most important right of citizenship.[10]

Between 1942, when public debates about a lower voting age began in earnest, and the early 1970s, ideas about youth agency increasingly challenged the caretaking model that had previously dominated the nation's approaches to young people's rights.[10] Characteristics traditionally associated with youth—idealism, lack of "vested interests", and openness to new ideas—came to be seen as positive qualities for a political system that seemed to be in crisis.[10]

In 1970, Senator Ted Kennedy proposed amending the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to lower the voting age nationally.[12] On June 22, 1970, President Richard Nixon signed an extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that required the voting age to be 18 in all federal, state, and local elections.[13] In his statement on signing the extension, Nixon said:

Despite my misgivings about the constitutionality of this one provision, I have signed the bill. I have directed the Attorney General to cooperate fully in expediting a swift court test of the constitutionality of the 18-year-old provision.[14]

Subsequently, Oregon and Texas challenged the law in court, and the case came before the Supreme Court in 1970 as Oregon v. Mitchell.[15] By this time, four states had a minimum voting age below 21: Georgia, Kentucky, Alaska and Hawaii.[16][17]

Oregon v. Mitchell


During debate of the 1970 extension of the Voting Rights Act, Senator Ted Kennedy argued that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment allowed Congress to pass national legislation lowering the voting age.[18] In Katzenbach v. Morgan (1966), the Supreme Court had ruled that if Congress acted to enforce the 14th Amendment by passing a law declaring that a type of state law discriminates against a certain class of persons, the Supreme Court would let the law stand if the justices could "perceive a basis" for Congress's actions.[19]

President Nixon disagreed with Kennedy in a letter to the Speaker of the House and the House minority and majority leaders, asserting that the issue was not whether the voting age should be lowered, but how. In his own interpretation of Katzenbach, Nixon argued that to include age as a possible parameter of discrimination would overstretch the concept, and voiced concerns that the damage of a Supreme Court decision to overturn the Voting Rights Act could be disastrous.[20]

In Oregon v. Mitchell (1970), the Supreme Court considered whether the voting-age provisions Congress added to the Voting Rights Act in 1970 were constitutional. The Court struck down the provisions that established 18 as the voting age in state and local elections. However, the Court upheld the provision establishing the voting age as 18 in federal elections. The Court was deeply divided in this case, and a majority of justices did not agree on a rationale for the holding.[21][22]

The decision resulted in states being able to maintain 21 as the voting age in state and local elections, but being required to establish separate voter rolls so that voters between 18 and 21 years old could vote in federal elections.[23]



Although the Twenty-sixth Amendment passed faster than any other constitutional amendment, about 17 states refused to pass measures to lower their minimum voting ages after Nixon signed the 1970 extension to the Voting Rights Act.[5] Opponents to extending the vote to youths questioned the maturity and responsibility of people at the age of 18. Representative Emanuel Celler of New York, one of the most vocal opponents of a lower voting age from the 1940s through 1970 (and Chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee for much of that period), insisted that youth lacked "the good judgment" essential to good citizenship and that the qualities that made youth good soldiers did not also make them good voters.[10]

Professor William G. Carleton wondered why the vote was proposed for youth at a time when the period of adolescence had grown so substantially rather than in the past when people had more responsibilities at earlier ages.[24] Carleton further criticized the move to lower the voting age, citing American preoccupations with youth in general, exaggerated reliance on higher education, and equating technological savvy with responsibility and intelligence.[25] He denounced the military service argument as well, calling it a "cliche".[26] Considering the ages of soldiers in the Civil War, he asserted that literacy and education were not the grounds for limiting voting; rather, common sense and the capacity to understand the political system grounded voting-age restrictions.[27]

James J. Kilpatrick, a political columnist, asserted that the states were "extorted" into ratifying the Twenty-sixth Amendment.[28] In his article, he claims that by passing the 1970 extension to the Voting Rights Act, Congress effectively forced the States to ratify the amendment lest they be forced to financially and bureaucratically cope with maintaining two voting registers. George Gallup also mentions the cost of registration in his article showing percentages favoring or opposing the amendment, and he draws particular attention to the lower rates of support among adults aged 30–49 and over 50 (57% and 52% respectively) as opposed to those aged 18–20 and 21–29 (84% and 73% respectively).[29]

Proposal and ratification

The Twenty-sixth Amendment in the National Archives

Passage by Congress


Senator Birch Bayh's subcommittee on constitutional amendments began hearings on extending voting rights to 18-year-olds in 1968.[30]

After Oregon v. Mitchell, Bayh surveyed election officials in 47 states and found that registering an estimated 10 million young people in a separate system for federal elections would cost approximately $20 million.[31] Bayh concluded that most states could not change their state constitutions in time for the 1972 election, mandating national action to avoid "chaos and confusion" at the polls.[32]

On March 2, 1971, Bayh's subcommittee and the House Judiciary Committee approved the proposed constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 18 for all elections.[33]

On March 10, 1971, the Senate voted 94–0 in favor of proposing a constitutional amendment to guarantee the minimum voting age could not be higher than 18.[34][35] On March 23, 1971, the House of Representatives voted 401–19 in favor of the proposed amendment.[36][37]

1971 U.S. House
Twenty-sixth Amendment
Party Total votes
Democratic Republican
Yea 236 165 401  (92.6%)
Nay 7 12 19  (4.4%)
Not Voting 9 3 12 (2.8%)
Vacant 2
Result: Adopted
Vote By Members
Roll call votes on the 26th Amendment
Representative Seat Vote
Jack Edwards Yea
William Louis Dickinson Yea
George W. Andrews Yea
Bill Nichols Yea
Walter Flowers Yea
John Hall Buchanan Jr. Yea
Tom Bevill Yea
Robert E. Jones Jr. Yea
Nick Begich Yea
John Jacob Rhodes Yea
Mo Udall Yea
Sam Steiger Nay
William Vollie Alexander Jr. Yea
Wilbur Mills Yea
John Paul Hammerschmidt Yea
David Pryor Yea
Donald H. Clausen Yea
Harold T. Johnson Yea
John E. Moss Yea
Robert Leggett Yea
Phillip Burton Yea
William S. Mailliard Yea
Ron Dellums Yea
George P. Miller Yea
Don Edwards Yea
Charles Gubser Yea
Pete McCloskey Yea
Burt Talcott Yea
Charles M. Teague Yea
Jerome Waldie Yea
John J. McFall Yea
B.F. Sisk Yea
Glenn M. Anderson Yea
Bob Mathias Yea
Chester E. Holifield Yea
H. Allen Smith Yea
Augustus Hawkins Yea
James C. Corman Yea
Del M. Clawson Nay
John H. Rousselot Nay
Charles E. Wiggins Nay
Thomas M. Rees Yea
Barry Goldwater, Jr. Nay
Alphonzo E. Bell Jr. Yea
Edward R. Roybal Yea
Charles H. Wilson Yea
Craig Hosmer Yea
Jerry Pettis Yea
Richard T. Hanna Not voting
John G. Schmitz Nay
Bob Wilson Yea
Lionel Van Deerlin Yea
Victor Veysey Yea
Mike McKevitt Yea
Donald G. Brotzman Yea
Frank Evans Yea
Wayne N. Aspinall Yea
William R. Cotter Yea
Robert H. Steele Yea
Robert Giaimo Yea
Stewart McKinney Yea
John S. Monagan Yea
Ella Grasso Yea
Pete du Pont Yea
Bob Sikes Yea
Don Fuqua Yea
Charles E. Bennett Yea
Bill Chappell Yea
Louis Frey, Jr. Yea
Sam Gibbons Yea
James A. Haley Yea
Bill Young Yea
Paul Rogers Yea
J. Herbert Burke Yea
Claude Pepper Yea
Dante Fascell Yea
George Elliot Hagan Yea
Dawson Mathis Yea
Jack Brinkley Yea
Benjamin B. Blackburn Yea
Fletcher Thompson Yea
John Flynt Yea
John W. Davis Yea
W. S. Stuckey, Jr. Yea
Phillip M. Landrum Yea
Robert Grier Stephens, Jr. Yea
Spark Matsunaga Yea
Patsy Mink Not voting
James A. McClure Yea
Orval H. Hansen Yea
Ralph Metcalfe Yea
Abner J. Mikva Yea
Morgan F. Murphy Yea
Ed Derwinski Yea
John C. Kluczynski Yea
George W. Collins Yea
Frank Annunzio Yea
Dan Rostenkowski Yea
Sidney R. Yates Yea
Harold R. Collier Yea
Roman Pucinski Yea
Robert McClory Yea
Phil Crane Yea
John N. Erlenborn Yea
Charlotte Thompson Yea
John B. Anderson Yea
Leslie C. Arends Yea
Robert H. Michel Nay
Tom Railsback Yea
Paul Findley Yea
Kenneth J. Gray Yea
William L. Springer Yea
George E. Shipley Yea
Melvin Price Yea
Ray Madden Yea
Earl Landgrebe Not voting
John Brademas Yea
J. Edward Roush Yea
Elwood Hillis Yea
William G. Bray Yea
John T. Myers Yea
Roger H. Zion Yea
Lee H. Hamilton Yea
David W. Dennis Yea
Andrew Jacobs, Jr. Yea
Fred Schwengel Yea
John Culver Yea
H. R. Gross Nay
John Henry Kyl Yea
Neal Edward Smith Yea
Wiley Mayne Nay
William J. Scherle Yea
Keith Sebelius Yea
William R. Roy Yea
Larry Winn Yea
Garner E. Shriver Yea
Joe Skubitz Yea
Frank Stubblefield Yea
William Natcher Yea
Romano Mazzoli Yea
Gene Snyder Yea
Tim Lee Carter Yea
John C. Watts Yea
Carl D. Perkins Yea
F. Edward Hébert Nay
Hale Boggs Yea
Patrick T. Caffery Yea
Joe Waggoner Yea
Otto Passman Yea
John Rarick Nay
Edwin Edwards Not voting
Speedy Long Yea
Peter Kyros Yea
William Hathaway Yea
Clarence Long Yea
Edward Garmatz Yea
Paul Sarbanes Yea
Lawrence Hogan Yea
Goodloe Byron Yea
Parren Mitchell Yea
Gilbert Gude Yea
Silvio O. Conte Yea
Edward Boland Yea
Robert Drinan Yea
Harold Donohue Yea
F. Bradford Morse Yea
Michael J. Harrington Yea
Torbert Macdonald Yea
Tip O'Neill Yea
Louise Day Hicks Yea
Margaret Heckler Yea
James A. Burke Yea
Hastings Keith Yea
John Conyers Yea
Marvin L. Esch Yea
Garry E. Brown Yea
J. Edward Hutchinson Nay
Gerald Ford Yea
Charles E. Chamberlain Yea
Donald Riegle Yea
R. James Harvey Yea
Guy Vander Jagt Yea
Elford Albin Cederberg Yea
Philip Ruppe Yea
James G. O'Hara Yea
Charles Diggs Yea
Lucien Nedzi Yea
William D. Ford Yea
John Dingell Yea
Martha Griffiths Yea
William Broomfield Yea
Jack H. McDonald Yea
Al Quie Yea
Ancher Nelsen Yea
Bill Frenzel Yea
Joseph Karth Yea
Donald M. Fraser Yea
John M. Zwach Yea
Robert Bergland Yea
John Blatnik Yea
Thomas Abernethy Yea
Jamie Whitten Yea
Charles H. Griffin Yea
Sonny Montgomery Yea
William M. Colmer Yea
William Clay, Sr. Not voting
James W. Symington Yea
Leonor Sullivan Yea
William J. Randall Yea
Richard Walker Bolling Yea
William Raleigh Hull, Jr. Yea
Durward Gorham Hall Nay
Richard Howard Ichord, Jr. Yea
William L. Hungate Yea
Bill Burlison Yea
Richard G. Shoup Yea
John Melcher Yea
Charles Thone Yea
John Y. McCollister Yea
David Martin Yea
Walter S. Baring, Jr. Yea
Louis C. Wyman Yea
James Colgate Cleveland Yea
John E. Hunt Yea
Charles W. Sandman, Jr. Yea
James J. Howard Yea
Frank Thompson Yea
Peter Frelinghuysen, Jr. Yea
Edwin B. Forsythe Yea
William B. Widnall Yea
Robert A. Roe Yea
Henry Helstoski Yea
Peter W. Rodino Yea
Joseph Minish Yea
Florence P. Dwyer Yea
Cornelius Gallagher Yea
Dominick V. Daniels Yea
Edward J. Patten Yea
Manuel Lujan, Jr. Yea
Harold L. Runnels Yea
Otis G. Pike Yea
James R. Grover, Jr. Yea
Lester L. Wolff Yea
John W. Wydler Yea
Norman F. Lent Yea
Seymour Halpern Yea
Joseph P. Addabbo Yea
Benjamin Stanley Rosenthal Yea
James J. Delaney Yea
Emanuel Celler Yea
Frank J. Brasco Yea
Shirley Chisholm Yea
Bertram L. Podell Yea
John J. Rooney Not voting
Hugh Carey Yea
John M. Murphy Yea
Ed Koch Yea
Charles Rangel Yea
Bella Abzug Yea
William Fitts Ryan Yea
James H. Scheuer Yea
Herman Badillo Yea
Jonathan Brewster Bingham Yea
Mario Biaggi Yea
Peter A. Peyser Yea
Ogden Reid Yea
John G. Dow Yea
Hamilton Fish IV Yea
Samuel S. Stratton Yea
Carleton J. King Yea
Robert C. McEwen Yea
Alexander Pirnie Yea
Howard W. Robison Yea
John H. Terry Yea
James M. Hanley Yea
Frank Horton Yea
Barber Conable Yea
James F. Hastings Yea
Jack Kemp Yea
Henry P. Smith III Yea
Thaddeus J. Dulski Yea
Walter B. Jones, Sr. Yea
Lawrence H. Fountain Yea
David N. Henderson Yea
Nick Galifianakis Yea
Wilmer Mizell Yea
L. Richardson Preyer Yea
Alton Lennon Yea
Earl B. Ruth Yea
Charles R. Jonas Yea
Jim Broyhill Yea
Roy A. Taylor Yea
Mark Andrews Yea
Arthur A. Link Yea
William J. Keating Yea
Donald D. Clancy Yea
Charles W. Whalen, Jr. Yea
William Moore McCulloch Not voting
Del Latta Yea
Bill Harsha Yea
Bud Brown Yea
Jackson Edward Betts Yea
Thomas L. Ashley Yea
Clarence E. Miller Yea
J. William Stanton Yea
Samuel L. Devine Yea
Charles Adams Mosher Yea
John F. Seiberling Yea
Chalmers Wylie Yea
Frank T. Bow Yea
John M. Ashbrook Yea
Wayne Hays Yea
Charles J. Carney Yea
James V. Stanton Yea
Louis Stokes Yea
Charles Vanik Yea
William Edwin Minshall, Jr. Yea
Walter E. Powell Yea
Page Belcher Yea
Ed Edmondson Yea
Carl Albert Yea
Tom Steed Yea
John Jarman Yea
John Newbold Camp Yea
Wendell Wyatt Nay
Al Ullman Yea
Edith Green Nay
John R. Dellenback Yea
William A. Barrett Yea
Robert N. C. Nix, Sr. Yea
James A. Byrne Yea
Joshua Eilberg Yea
William J. Green III Not voting
Gus Yatron Yea
Lawrence G. Williams Yea
Edward G. Biester, Jr. Yea
John H. Ware III Yea
Joseph M. McDade Yea
Daniel Flood Yea
J. Irving Whalley Yea
Lawrence Coughlin Yea
William S. Moorhead Yea
Fred B. Rooney Yea
Edwin D. Eshleman Yea
Herman T. Schneebeli Yea
Robert J. Corbett Not voting
George A. Goodling Yea
Joseph M. Gaydos Yea
John Herman Dent Not voting
John P. Saylor Yea
Albert W. Johnson Yea
Joseph P. Vigorito Yea
Frank M. Clark Yea
Thomas E. Morgan Yea
James G. Fulton Yea
Fernand St. Germain Yea
Robert Tiernan Yea
Floyd Spence Yea
William Jennings Bryan Dorn Yea
fJames Mann Yea
Thomas S. Gettys Nay
John L. McMillan Yea
Frank E. Denholm Yea
James Abourezk Yea
Jimmy Quillen Yea
John Duncan, Sr. Yea
LaMar Baker Yea
Joe L. Evins Yea
Richard Fulton Yea
William Anderson (naval officer) Yea
Ray Blanton Yea
Ed Jones (Tennessee politician) Yea
Dan Kuykendall Yea
Wright Patman Yea
John Dowdy Not voting
James M. Collins Yea
Ray Roberts Not voting
Earle Cabell Yea
Olin E. Teague Yea
Bill Archer Yea
Robert C. Eckhardt Yea
Jack Bascom Brooks Yea
J. J. Pickle Yea
William R. Poage Nay
Jim Wright Yea
Graham B. Purcell, Jr. Yea
John Andrew Young Yea
Kika de la Garza Yea
Richard Crawford White Yea
Omar Burleson Nay
Robert Dale Price Yea
George H. Mahon Yea
Henry B. González Yea
O. C. Fisher Nay
Robert R. Casey Yea
Abraham Kazen Yea
K. Gunn McKay Yea
Sherman P. Lloyd Yea
Robert T. Stafford Yea
Thomas Pelly Yea
Lloyd Meeds Yea
Julia Butler Hansen Yea
Mike McCormack Yea
Tom Foley Yea
Floyd Hicks Yea
Brock Adams Yea
Bob Mollohan Yea
Harley Orrin Staggers Yea
John M. Slack, Jr. Yea
Ken Hechler Yea
James Kee Yea
Les Aspin Yea
Robert Kastenmeier Yea
Vernon Wallace Thomson Yea
Clement J. Zablocki Yea
Henry S. Reuss Yea
William A. Steiger Yea
Dave Obey Yea
John W. Byrnes Yea
Glenn Robert Davis Yea
Alvin O'Konski Yea
Teno Roncalio Yea

Ratification by the states


Having been passed by the 92nd United States Congress, the proposed Twenty-sixth Amendment was sent to the state legislatures for their consideration. Which state was the first to officially ratify the amendment was a matter of dispute: the Minnesota legislature approved the amendment at 3:14 p.m. CST (4:14 p.m. EST), minutes before U.S. Senate president pro tempore Allen J. Ellender officially approved the federal law at approximately 4:35[39] or 4:40 p.m. EST.[40] Legislators in Delaware, which ratified the amendment at 4:51 p.m., argued that Minnesota's ratification was invalid because the amendment had not yet been sent to the states.[39][41] The U.S. Senate parliamentarian ruled that Minnesota acted prematurely, but the legality of its ratification of the amendment was never officially challenged.[39]

Ratification was completed on June 30, 1971, after the amendment had been ratified by thirty-eight states. Which state was the 38th to ratify and thus put the amendment into effect has also been disputed. Contemporaneous reports agree that Ohio's House of Representatives cast the decisive vote on the evening of June 30, and that Alabama and North Carolina had ratified the amendment earlier in the day.[42][43] As of 2013, however, the Government Printing Office states that North Carolina did not complete its ratification of the amendment until July 1, at which time it became the 38th state to ratify.[44] Additionally, Alabama governor George Wallace claimed that his state was the 38th to ratify, because he did not sign the ratification resolution until after North Carolina and Ohio completed their ratifications; however, the approval of the governor is not required to ratify an amendment.[45]

  1. Minnesota: March 23, 1971 (4:14 p.m. EST)[40]
  2. Delaware: March 23, 1971 (4:51 p.m. EST)[39]
  3. Tennessee: March 23, 1971 (5:10 p.m. EST)[46]
  4. Washington: March 23, 1971 (5:42 p.m. EST)[46]
  5. Connecticut: March 23, 1971 (5:53 p.m. EST)[46]
  6. Hawaii: March 24, 1971
  7. Massachusetts: March 24, 1971
  8. Montana: March 29, 1971
  9. Arkansas: March 30, 1971
  10. Idaho: March 30, 1971
  11. Iowa: March 30, 1971
  12. Nebraska: April 2, 1971
  13. New Jersey: April 3, 1971
  14. Kansas: April 7, 1971
  15. Michigan: April 7, 1971
  16. Alaska: April 8, 1971
  17. Maryland: April 8, 1971
  18. Indiana: April 8, 1971
  19. Maine: April 9, 1971
  20. Vermont: April 16, 1971
  21. Louisiana: April 17, 1971
  22. California: April 19, 1971
  23. Colorado: April 27, 1971
  24. Pennsylvania: April 27, 1971
  25. Texas: April 27, 1971
  26. South Carolina: April 28, 1971
  27. West Virginia: April 28, 1971
  28. New Hampshire: May 13, 1971
  29. Arizona: May 14, 1971
  30. Rhode Island: May 27, 1971
  31. New York: June 2, 1971
  32. Oregon: June 4, 1971
  33. Missouri: June 14, 1971
  34. Wisconsin: June 22, 1971
  35. Illinois: June 29, 1971[44]
  36. Alabama: June 30, 1971
  37. North Carolina: June 30, 1971[43]
  38. Ohio: June 30, 1971[42]

Having been ratified by three-fourths of the States (38), the Twenty-sixth Amendment became part of the Constitution. On July 5, 1971, the Administrator of General Services, Robert Kunzig, certified its adoption. President Nixon and Julianne Jones, Joseph W. Loyd Jr., and Paul S. Larimer of the "Young Americans in Concert" also signed the certificate as witnesses. During the signing ceremony, held in the East Room of the White House, Nixon talked about his confidence in the youth of America:

As I meet with this group today, I sense that we can have confidence that America's new voters, America's young generation, will provide what America needs as we approach our 200th birthday, not just strength and not just wealth but the 'Spirit of '76' a spirit of moral courage, a spirit of high idealism in which we believe in the American dream, but in which we realize that the American dream can never be fulfilled until every American has an equal chance to fulfill it in their own life.[47]

The amendment was subsequently ratified by five more states, bringing the total number of ratifying states to forty-three:[44]

39. Oklahoma: July 1, 1971
40. Virginia: July 8, 1971
41. Wyoming: July 8, 1971
42. Georgia: October 4, 1971
43. South Dakota: March 4, 2014[48]

No action has been taken on the amendment by the states of Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, or Utah.

See also



  1. ^ "The 26th Amendment". History. November 27, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  2. ^ ""Old Enough to Fight, Old Enough to Vote": The WWII Roots of the 26th Amendment". The National WWII Museum | New Orleans. October 28, 2020. Retrieved June 27, 2024.
  3. ^ United States Government Printing Office. "Reduction of Voting Age: Twenty-Sixth Amendment" (PDF).
  4. ^ Vaughn, Vanessa E. DOMESTIC AFFAIRS: Twenty-Sixth Amendment. Defining Documents: The 1970s. pp. 145–147.
  5. ^ a b Neale, Thomas H., "Lowering the Voting Age was not a New Idea", in Amendment XXVI Lowering the Voting Age, ed. Engdahl, Sylvia (New York: Greenhaven Press, 2010), p. 35.
  6. ^ Neale, Thomas H., "Lowering the Voting Age was not a New Idea", in Amendment XXVI Lowering the Voting Age, ed. Engdahl, Sylvia (New York: Greenhaven Press, 2010), pp. 36–37.
  7. ^ Dwight D. Eisenhower, Public Papers of the Presidents, January 7, 1954, p. 22.
  8. ^ University of California–Santa Barbara, The American Presidency Project, "Commencement Address at Texas Christian University".
  9. ^ Neale, Thomas H., "Lowering the Voting Age was not a New Idea", in Amendment XXVI Lowering the Voting Age, ed. Engdahl, Sylvia (New York: Greenhaven Press, 2010), p. 38.
  10. ^ a b c d e de Schweinitz, Rebecca (May 22, 2015), "The Proper Age for Suffrage", Age in America, NYU Press, pp. 209–236, doi:10.18574/nyu/9781479870011.003.0011, ISBN 978-1-4798-7001-1
  11. ^ De Schweinitz, Rebecca (2009). If we could change the world: young people and America's long struggle for racial equality. The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-3235-6. OCLC 963537002.
  12. ^ Kennedy, Edward M., "The Time Has Come to Let Young People Vote", in Amendment XXVI Lowering the Voting Age, ed. Engdahl, Sylvia (New York: Greenhaven Press, 2010), pp. 56–64.
  13. ^ University of California, Santa Barbara. "Statement on Signing the Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970".
  14. ^ Richard Nixon, Public Papers of the Presidents, June 22, 1970, p. 512.
  15. ^ Educational Broadcasting Corporation (2006). "Majority Rules: Oregon v. Mitchell (1970)". PBS.
  16. ^ 18 for Georgia and Kentucky, 19 for Alaska and 20 for Hawaii
  17. ^ Neale, Thomas H. The Eighteen Year Old Vote: The Twenty-Sixth Amendment and Subsequent Voting Rates of Newly Enfranchised Age Groups. 1983.
  18. ^ "Oregon v. Mitchell". LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  19. ^ Graham, Fred P., in Amendment XXVI Lowering the Voting Age, ed. Engdahl, Sylvia (New York: Greenhaven Press, 2010), p. 67.
  20. ^ Nixon, Richard, "Changing the Voting age will Require a Constitutional Amendment", in Amendment XXVI Lowering the Voting Age, ed. Engdahl, Sylvia (New York: Greenhaven Press, 2010), pp. 70–77.
  21. ^ Tokaji, Daniel P. (2006). "Intent and Its Alternatives: Defending the New Voting Rights Act" (PDF). Alabama Law Review. 58: 353. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  22. ^ Oregon v. Mitchell, 400 U.S. 112 (1970), pp. 188–121
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Further reading

  • Caplan, Sheri J. Old Enough: How 18-Year-Olds Won the Vote & Why it Matters. Heath Hen, 2020. ISBN 978-1-7354-9300-8.