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“Old enough to fight, old enough to vote” was a rallying cry for many protestors during the Vietnam War. The Voting Rights Act of 1970 gave 18-year-olds the right to vote, but Oregon and Texas challenged the law in the courts. On December 21, 1970, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a narrow 5-4 decision in Mitchell v. Oregon that upheld the right of 18-year-olds to vote in federal but not state and local elections. At the time of this decision, nine states already had legal voting ages under 21, but only three of them, including Kentucky, gave 18-year-olds the right to vote. After concerns were raised regarding the need for states to maintain dual voting systems, both Houses of Congress passed the 26th Amendment in March 1971 and sent it to the States for possible ratification. The 26th Amendment was officially certified after Ohio became the 38th state to ratify it on June 30, 1971.


Voting rights, 26th Amemendment