[Constitution of the United States of America:  Analysis, and Interpretation - 1992 Edition ]
[Amendments to the Constitution]
[Twenty-Sixth Amendment - Reduction of Voting Age Qualification]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]

[[Page 1995]]

                         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.

                       THE EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD VOTE

        In extending the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in 1970\1\ Congress 
included a provision lowering the age qualification to vote in all 
elections, federal, state, and local, to 18.\2\ In a divided decision, 
the Supreme Court held that Congress was empowered to lower the age 
qualification in federal elections, but voided the application of the 
provision in all other elections as beyond congressional power.\3\ 
Confronted thus with the possibility that they might have to maintain 
two sets of registration books and go to the expense of running separate 
election systems for federal elections and for all other elections, the 
States were receptive to the proposing of an Amendment by Congress to 
establish a minimum age qualification at 18 for all elections, and 
ratified it promptly.\4\

        \1\79 Stat. 437, as extended and amended by 84 Stat. 314, 42 
U.S.C. Sec. 1971 et seq.
        \2\Title 3, 84 Stat. 318, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973bb.
        \3\Oregon v. Mitchell, 400 U.S. 112 (1970).
        \4\S. Rep. No. 26, 92d Cong., 1st Sess. (1971); H.R. Rep. No. 
37, 92d Cong., 1st Sess. (1971).