COLUMBIA, SC (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy on Thursday voiced his support for changing the general voting age in the United States to 25, unless younger Americans complete at least six months of service in the military or as a first responder, or pass the same citizenship. test administered to those who wish to become naturalized citizens.
Ramaswamy’s campaign announced the biotech entrepreneur and “anti-woke” activist’s push for a U.S. constitutional amendment promoting “civic duty voting,” which he announced in a press release and detailed during a campaign event in Urbandale, Iowa.
Revising the Constitution is no simple task, as it requires overwhelming support in Congress and state legislatures. Still, Ramaswamy said in his statement that “the absence of national pride is a serious threat to the future of our country” and argued that his proposal “can create a sense of purpose and shared responsibility among young Americans to become educated citizens.”
On Twitter during his event in Iowa, Ramaswamy acknowledged: “I understand that not everyone will like this proposal and that it will take persuasion to convince many of its merits, but I am prepared to take it on.”
At 37, Ramaswamy is the youngest person vying for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination in a field that already includes several candidates in their 70s, including former President Donald Trump and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Another challenger, former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, 51, has called for a new generation of political leadership central to her campaign, even arguing that cognitive tests they should be necessary for senior politicians.
Making changes to the US Constitution requires the approval of two-thirds of Congress, as well as three-quarters of state legislatures.
The 26th Amendment, ratified in 1971, lowered the federal voting age from 21 to 18. The debate had begun decades earlier during World War II, when Congress lowered the minimum draft age to 18, prompting the slogan “old enough to fight, old enough to vote.”
States began moving toward lowering their voting age, following a call by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1954. More pressure for general changes came during the Vietnam War, and in 1970, the Congress amended the Voting Rights Act, lowering the voting age in federal, state, and local elections to 18.
A handful of states sued the federal government, arguing that Congress had no jurisdiction over state voting ages, with which the Supreme Court agreed. A constitutional amendment, which superseded any state law with thresholds higher than 18, was quickly passed by Congress and ratified by three-quarters of the states.
As part of his proposal, Ramaswamy argued that his plan would require “no additional government bureaucracy” to administer, and said the debate generated by his proposal “will itself catalyze a long-overdue conversation in America about what it means to be a citizen and how to encourage it”. civic pride in the next generation.”
Meg Kinnard can be contacted at