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Fact Check: Sunny Hostin – 'View' host Sunny Hostin has scant evidence for claiming GOP wants to raise voting age to 28

“The View” co-host Sunny Hostin said younger voters delivered for the Democrats in the midterms, and now Republicans want to revoke their right to vote.

“When you look at the youth voter turnout in the 2022 midterms, they delivered key wins for the Democrats,” Hostin said Nov. 14. “Younger voters aged 18 to 29, which by the way, now the Republicans want to raise the voting to age 28.”

A reader asked us to fact-check Hostin’s claim that Republicans want to raise the voting age — a claim that drew backlash on Twitter and in conservative media.

Hostin’s comment is misleading; it is merely a reference to one pundit who tweeted a call to raise the voting age to 28. Another commentator called to raise it to 21. But we found no broader effort by Republicans to raise the voting age.

Two pundits proposed raising the voting age

Two pundits who called for raising the voting age made recent headlines in the The Daily Beast and The Guardian: Peter Schiff, a conservative radio show personality, and Brigitte Gabriel, an anti-Muslim activist. Both pundits have hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter, and an ABC News spokesperson pointed to their comments to support Hostin’s claim. 

Schiff tweeted Nov. 8: “When the voting age was 21 by that age most voters were married, had kids, and had been out of school and in the workforce for 8 years. Today most 18 year olds never had a job and still live with their parents. Let’s raise the voting age to 28. If I was still 18 I’d support this.” 

Schiff’s tweet included a Twitter poll and inspired an essay by novelist Dean Brooks.

The day after the Nov. 8 election, Gabriel tweeted, “Raise the voting age to 21.” 

Examples of notable Republicans who agree with them are scarce.

Addison Smith of One America News Network said it made him “sick” to agree with Hostin, but “she is right! Some people on the right do want to raise the voting age, myself included.” Smith said he didn’t have a set age in mind but said “unfortunately I don’t think it will” change.

Nan Hayworth, a former one-term New York U.S. representative, who served from 2011 to 2013, tweeted in support of raising the voting age to 28 or 21.

Voting age was set by a constitutional amendment in 1971

It would be very hard to raise the voting age.

“That would take a constitutional amendment, since it would require repeal of the 26th Amendment,” said Kermit Roosevelt, a constitutional law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “I don’t think there’s any chance it could be done.”

An amendment may be proposed by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress, or, if two-thirds of the states request one, by a convention. The amendment must then be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures, or three-fourths of conventions called in each state. 

It took decades to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. The movement came after World War II, when Congress lowered the minimum age to be drafted from 21 to 18. The slogan “old enough to fight, old enough to vote” was born, according to Rock the Vote. 

Calls to lower the voting age gained steam during the Vietnam War.

In 1970, Congress voted to amend the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to lower the voting age to 18 in federal, state, and local elections nationwide. After President Richard Nixon signed the amendment into law, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon and Texas sued the federal government in opposition. The Supreme Court ruled that Congress had the power to set the age only for federal elections. That defeat in court led the Senate and the House to vote in favor of an amendment, and two months later, 38 states had voted in favor of lowering the voting age.

We found no evidence that anyone beyond a couple of conservative pundits have called for raising the voting age. We found some efforts by Democrats to lower the voting age to 16, but those proposals haven’t picked up many supporters, either.

John Holbein, an associate professor of public policy, politics and education at the University of Virginia, said some cities in Maryland and California have lowered the voting age to 16 in local and/or school board elections.

Some congressional lawmakers have proposed lowering the voting age, including Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y. 

Meng, who floated a constitutional amendment, said 16-year-olds can work, pay federal income taxes, drive cars and be tried in criminal court as adults. 

“If 16-year-olds are impacted by our laws, it is only fair that they be allowed to choose their representatives,” Meng said in 2021.

We wondered about Hostin’s broader comment that youth delivered for Democrats. The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University wrote in a Nov. 9 report that 27% of young people (ages 18-29) turned out to vote in the 2022 midterm election. These young voters supported Democratic House candidates by a wide margin: 62% to 35%. (The numbers could change once states complete counting ballots.)

This 2022 youth turnout is likely the second-highest youth turnout rate for a midterm election in the past 30 years, behind the 31% turnout in 2018, the center found. Votes cast by young people made up 12% of all votes in this election, nearly matching the 13% youth share of the vote from the 2014 and 2018 midterms, according to National Election Pool surveys.

Our ruling

Hostin said, “Republicans want to raise the voting to age 28.”

Hostin did not elaborate on which Republicans want to raise the voting age. ABC pointed to news coverage of a tweet by a conservative radio show personality, who supports raising the voting age to 28. 

Although Hostin didn’t single out lawmakers as sharing this view, her broad comments left the false impression of a serious proposal being in the works.

We found no such effort beyond the tweet. We rate this statement False. 

PolitiFact researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this fact-check.

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Source: PolitiFact.