MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: Democratic presidential candidate former tech executive Andrew Yang speaks during the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Georgia 2020: Yang would lower voting age to 16, ban voter ID requirements 

He’s the latest prez candidate to focus on voting rights in Georgia

Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang said Tuesday he would lower the voting age for federal elections to 16, ban voter ID requirements and restrict late changes to polling sites, joining other 2020 candidates who have emphasized voting rights in Georgia. 

The entrepreneur said he would implement automatic and same-day voter registration, require states adopt early voting and boost funding to election security.

He also said he supports a law that requires all states to integrate mail-in ballots to their voting process and limit purges of the voting rolls.

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And he said he would restore voting rights to current inmates – unless they have deprived someone else of their right to vote – as well as those convicted of felonies and released from prisons.

But one of the biggest overhauls in his proposal involves lowering the voting age by two years to 16 to combat what his campaign calls a “level of unfairness that comes with what year a person is born.” 

“Senators are on a 6-year cycle, and the president is on a 4-year cycle, not to mention local offices. Someone born at the wrong time in a cycle would have to wait much longer to cast a ballot for certain offices than someone born at another time,” Yang’s campaign said in a policy statement.

“While that’s true if the voting age is lowered to 16, it decreases the age at which the person is first allowed to vote for that office, thus allowing them to have a longer period of their life where they feel represented.”  

Yang, who is in the single-digits in most polls, has introduced elements of his voting rights plan at previous stops. He is one of several White House hopefuls who are making voting rights a key part of their campaign pitch in Georgia.

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U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar sharpened her ballot access agenda at a Monday stop in Atlanta, and Stacey Abrams and several activists participated Tuesday in a Democratic National Committee event focused on access to polling sites. 

A half-dozen other hopefuls plan to tackle the issue while they’re in Atlanta this week for Wednesday’s debate. 

There’s little mystery why: Georgia became the center of a voting rights battle in last year’s gubernatorial race between Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, who as secretary of state oversaw elections. 

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.