San Diego Law Review

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The possibility of an infusion of youthful inspiration into our democratic system became a legal reality on June 30, 1971, when the traditional voting age was lowered to eighteen. Congress had previously lowered the voting age for both state and national elections through the Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970. However, the United States Supreme Court in Oregon v. Mitchell, upheld the lowering of the voting age in presidential and congressional elections but ruled the change unconstitutional as it applied to state and local elections. In an effort to enfranchise eighteen to twenty year olds for all elections, the twenty-sixth amendment was passed. As a result, the franchise was extended to eleven million young people. The decision by the California Supreme court in Jolicoeur v. Mihaly promotes the fullest possible extension of the franchise pursuant to the twenty-sixth amendment. Justice Peters, speaking for the majority of the court, followed constitutional precedent when he ruled against discrimination on account of minority which impinged the fundamental right to vote.

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