Jenny Diamond Cheng (Vanderbilt University - Law School) has posted Voting Rights for Millennials: Breathing New Life into the Twenty-Sixth Amendment (Syracuse Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Millennials are now the largest generation in the United States, and they are the most likely to identify as liberal Democrats. Their access to the ballot has become a political and legal flashpoint, with a growing number of young people arguing that Republican-dominated state legislatures have enacted voter restrictions deliberately to suppress their vote. This article focuses on legal challenges to state voting laws based on the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, which lowered the minimum voting age from twenty-one to eighteen. These are novel claims and courts have struggled with how to interpret the Amendment. I argue that the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, as an analogue to the Fifteenth Amendment, prohibits intentional voter discrimination on the basis of age. As I demonstrate, the federal courts that have heard these claims are haltingly moving towards this same interpretation. However, I offer a newly strong theoretical basis for reading the Twenty-Sixth Amendment this way by emphasizing the Amendment's text rather than its history. I also suggest that demographic changes in the United States are blurring the line between voter discrimination based on age and that based on race.