Lowering The Voting Age: Then And Now
Compare and contrast the reasons you offered and what was actually advocated at the time. Where do your reasons conform and/or clash with the arguments of the 1960s? Discuss your findings with other students and your teacher.
What Actually Happened?
VAC by David Marshak, RUTGERS DAILY TARGUM, November 4, 1969
Trenton, 12 midnight:
Prospects for the passage of the 18 year old vote referendum are now all but nonexistent. With 23 per cent of the votes in, the issue is losing by a margin of over 100,000 votes. CBS at 9:30 predicted a defeat of 57 per cent opposed and 43 per cent in favor of the referendum.
In spite of these figures, Dave Dupell, State chairman of the Voting Age Coalition, is still optimistic. He points out that those counties expected to produce the heaviest favorable vote have been very slow in returning. "Essex, Bergen and Hudson counties have reported less than 10 per cent He also said that, "Reports are missing from many college towns." Dupell stresses the fact that he won't concede until the final results are in. This announcement brought enthusastic cheers from the tired VAC members. At midnight, most people were sitting around waiting for further results. Most were discouraged yet not defeated. In the corner, one youth sat strumming a guitar, signing favorite folk songs.
Dupell was adamant in his statement of non-concession. He did give his future plans in the event of a defeat, however. "If we do lose we will continue. We will not wait one year or two years, we will start again tomorrow morning." At 12:30 Dupell conceded. All optimism was gone with 74 per cent of the returns showing a 237,000 vote deficit. He made the following statement: "The thousands who have worked with the Voting Age Coalition are very disappointed but not disheartened. We have shown that the sincere efforts of dedicated young adults of this state can persuade a reluctant State Legislature to hear our cries and act. We have shown in the conduct of our campaign that young people have the ability and energy to launch a statewide campaign attracting the support of all major segments of our state. The Voting Age Coalition will continue as will this campaign for the 18 year old vote. Both we of the Coalition and our issue will again come before the New Jersey State Legislature and the people of New Jersey. To those who have supported our efforts we are grateful for the confidence you have in us. We ask for your continued support in the future."
"To those who opposed us, we ask you to consider our beliefs that 18, 19, 20 year olds have been portrayed falsely. A tiny minority have created a false image. The vast majority of us do care deeply about our nation's future--as parents, taxpayers, soldiers, and students. Young people will continue to participate, will become involved; we will not slacken our efforts until that time when the majority of the electorate of this State finally decide to share the vote with the last best hope of our society. Its youth."
Voting age loses; Bond, lottery pass, Rutgers Daily TARGUM, Nov. 5, 1969
By Rich Reilly and Ed Rosenthal
The electorate of New Jersey deined the franchise to the state's 18, 19 and 20 year olds yesterday as 58 percent of the voters opposed the extension of their right to vote. The measure passed in only one of New Jersey's 21 counties, Salem. Ironically, the rural county was one of the few areas where students did not campaign actively for the passage of the referenda.
VAC Will Continue
Though disappointed in defeat, the Voting Age Coalition has vowed to continue its campaign for the 18 year old vote. V AC chairman Dave Dupell said early this morning, "...we will not slacken our efforts until that time when the majority of the electorate of this state finally decide to share the vote with the last best hope of our society. Its youth."
Gerald Pomper, professor of political science at Livingston, believes that if the referendum is brought before the voters next year as a 19 year old vote, it would probably pass. On the other hand, Pomper referred to a survey which revealed that most 18 year olds are not anxious to vote. Several graduate fellows at the Eagleton Institute of Politics noted last night that students have a bad image and that the Voting Age Coalition did not reach enough people in its campaign. They also said that this defeat shows the reaction of the "over-30- generation" to something which that generation did not have in its youth.
In the other referenda on yesterday's ballot, a $271 million Water Conservation Bond issue was approved with a 75 per cent "yes" vote. The referendum approving a State Lottery was passed by 81 per cent of the electorate.