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  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

The confusion created by the Supreme Court’s fragmented decision, which established different minimum voting ages for federal and state elections, was eliminated through the passage of the Twenty-sixth Amendment, which made the minimum voting age eighteen in all elections.

As a part of the 1970 amendments to the 1965 Voting Rights ActVoting Rights Act of 1965, Congress not only extended the act for five years but also attempted to standardize residency and age requirements for voting in elections at all levels. The act lowered the voting age to eighteen for federal, state, and local elections. However, because states had previously had the authority to set the minimum voting ageMinimum voting age, the act was challenged as a violation of federalism. By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress could set the minimum voting age for federal elections but could not do so for state or local elections. Five opinions were filed in the case. Essentially, four justices believed Congress had the power to set the voting age in any election and four did not. Justice Hugo L. Black, who cast the deciding vote, believed that Congress had the power in federal but not state and local elections. To eliminate the confusion and avoid complicated election procedures, Congress proposed the Twenty-sixth Amendment, which lowered the voting age to eighteen in all elections and was quickly ratified.Twenty-sixth AmendmentVote, right to;Arizona, United States v.[Arizona, United States v.]Twenty-sixth Amendment

Federalism

States’ rights and state sovereignty

Twenty-sixth Amendment

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Voting Rights Act of 1965

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