Measure Y1: Youth Voting

Simple majority vote required 

The Question: Measure Y would authorize the City Council to permit 16- and 17-year-old eligible citizens to vote for Berkeley school board directors in the General Election, provided certain operating and financial conditions are met.

The Situation: Research shows that bringing 16- and 17-year-olds into local voting, such as for Berkeley School Board Directors, helps to establish a lifelong habit of voting and strengthen civic identity. Research further shows that the participation of their parents may increase 3–5%. This local measure requires that 16- and 17-year-old voting can be implemented only if it is technically feasible. If and when this test is met, according to the Superintendent’s office, the School Board has set aside funding to implement this voting program.

Fiscal Effect: There is no financial effect on the City of Berkeley. All residual costs to cover this portion of an election would be covered by the School District.

Supporters Say:

  • Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. Yet less than 20% of 18- to 29-year-olds voted in the 2014 midterm elections, the lowest youth turnout rate ever recorded. We must do something to better engage our youth—Measure Y1 will do just that by allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in Berkeley School Board elections.
  • Currently two cities in the United States allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote and the results are very encouraging. After Takoma Park in Maryland lowered its voting age for the 2013 election, for instance, turnout among 16- and 17-year-olds was higher than any other age group.
  • In California, 16- and 17-year-olds are provided with most of the rights, privileges, and obligations as other adults. They can drive, work, pay taxes, and even be charged with a felony as an adult. It is time for the right to vote should be provided as well!

Supporters: Nancy Skinner, Former State Assembly Member; Laurie Capitelli, Berkeley City Councilmember, District 5; Jesse Arreguin, Berkeley City Councilmember; Beatriz Leyva-Cutler, Berkeley School Board President; Sheila Jordan, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools Emerita.

Opponents:  No opposition was filed.

A “Yes” vote means: The Berkeley City Council can determine if it is technically feasible for 16- and 17-year-olds to vote for School Directors in our current system. And if yes, that the Berkeley School Boards would pay for election costs. Then the City would adopt an ordinance to permit 16- and 17-year-olds to vote.

A “No” vote means:  That 16- and 17-year olds would not be able to vote for School Directors.