The 26th Amendment - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

The 26th Amendment

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By Tim Guidera - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) – The 26th Amendment is considered a direct reaction to Vietnam War and war protests across the United States at the time.

But it also resolved one apparent contradiction in our election process.

In 1971, 18-year-old Americans could be drafted into the military and could be required to fight in a war. But they could not vote. The amendment rectifying that inconsistency by setting the national voting age at 18 was passed in the senate unanimously and ratified within two months, the shortest period for any amendment.

"It's unique and interesting to think that a constitutional amendment passed so quickly that extended rights to a group that unfortunately doesn't exercise them as much as we would hope,'' said Georgia Southern University Political Science professor Dr. Patrick Novotny. "The vote by 18-, 19- and 20-years olds is one of the lowest turnouts of any group.''

Georgia was the first state to lower the voting age to 18 in 1942, 29 years before the 26th amendment made it a national law.

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