The 26th Amendment 50 Years Later

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of the 26th Amendment.  Enacted in 1971, the 26th amendment grants the right to vote to all Americans, 18  years  and older and is one of a series of amendments enacted to protect the right of every American to be represented in government. In a time when our voting rights are under attack, it’s more important to reflect on these amendments than ever.

During this historic California gubernatorial recall election, McCarthy Center Communications Assistant, Priana Aquino took to the USF campus to ask students, What does the passing of the 26th Amendment mean to you?” Below are some of the responses and comments that undergraduates shared.


Taylor Rizek, ’22, Psychology

“I think voting is important. When the 2016 election happened, I was a couple months shy of turning 18 so I couldn’t vote in that election even though I felt very involved in what was going on. So I feel like it’s important that young people put their voice out there. At the end of the day, we’re the ones that are going to be impacted by the decisions that we make.”

Juno Chen, ’23, Nursing

“It means a lot to me because I’m 18 so I can vote now! I think voting is important because we are adults, and we do have a voice and it matters that we express it, especially because a lot of people our age our active politically. Youth have always been looking to get more involved, and this is one way they can do that.


Emma Crameri, ’23, Psychology

“The passing of this amendment means everything to me because I see so much disenfranchisement of young voters and discouragement of young voters. Election days are not a national holiday so we don’t get days off from school. Fortunately our university has implemented a rule that allows students to miss class to vote, but not every university has that. We are the most likely age group to not vote, but a lot of the issues we are voting on will affect us the most, so I think it’s crucial that we vote as a young population.

Isabella Santoro, ’22, Accounting

“It means that I, rightfully so, get a say in my future. There’s a lot of things that young people know and care more about than other generations, like climate change specifically. We really are going to be the ones stuck with this planet after others are gone. I don’t think the progress that has been made to raise awareness of climate change would be present without the voice of young people.”

Emilia Melancon, ’22, Biochemistry 

“Learning more about the passing of the 26th amendment makes me really happy. I have always known that I wanted to become very active and make sure to register to vote when I turned 18. I feel like this was such a huge stepping stone for youth and the future of our generation.”(below, right)

Louise Li, ’22, Marketing

“For me, the 26th amendment means so much power to youth. At the age of 18 we’re allowed to do so many things. I’m from the U.S. territory of Saipan where we can’t vote for the president. The fact that I was able to vote for president in this most recent election as a resident means I’m not just voting for myself, but for everyone back home because they don’t have a say.” (above left)

To learn more about the 26th Amendment, visit here. To register to vote, visit here.

26th AmendmentAmendmentsCA Recall ElectionConstitution DayUSFVotesvoting ageYouth Vote

Leo T. McCarthy Center • September 16, 2021

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