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SF youth voting activists pledge to try again in 2020

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Supervisor John Avalos was a prominent supporter of a Nov. 8 measure that would have allowed 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in municipal elections. The measure lost by a narrow margin. (Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)
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After a narrow loss at the polls earlier this month, San Francisco youth leaders said they plan to reintroduce a ballot measure in 2020 to lower the voting age in local elections.

The activists behind Proposition F, which almost passed Nov. 8 with 48 percent of the vote in favor when 50 percent was needed, said in a statement Tuesday that they will bring the issue back to the polls in the next election cycle.

Prop. F would have allowed 16- and 17-year-old citizens the right to vote on local issues.

“The success of this campaign affirmed that young people are capable of being engaged in city politics and will be engaged when policies are relevant to them,” Supervisor John Avalos said in a statement.

Avalos said low voter turnout across the nation this election shows the need for ballot measures like Prop. F “that encourage political engagement and civic education at an early age.”

Six months before the election, the ballot measure was polling at just 36 percent in favor.

San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education President Matt Haney said the school board will make sure students continue to “receive a robust civics education.”

“We need to do more as a country to inspire and educate young people to be active citizens,” Haney said in a statement. “San Francisco will take a national lead on this effort, inspired by all the youth that made this their issue over the last few months.”

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