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Department of State

New Jersey Civic Engagement Hub

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Secretary of State
50th Anniversary of the 26th Amendment Logo on a flag based background

50th Anniversary of the 26th Amendment

The 26th Amendment 50th Anniversary Celebration Video Event
‘Voices of the Voters’

 

Because of the 26th Amendment, young people are a critical part of our electorate. In the 2020 election, New Jersey had the highest youth voter turnout in the country. This year, we honor the generations of young people who eagerly cast their first ballot, and recognize our newest young voters, who will enter the voting booth for the first time.

We want to share the Voices of the Voters across the generations.

Were you a new 18 year old voter who registered in 1971, or the early 1970s?

Are you a new voter (within the last year) or have you recently registered to vote?

We’re excited to hear about and share your first voting experiences and what voting means to YOU and your community.

Please share your personal story with us in a video and then we will post them on social media!

You can submit yours individually, or you can create an intergenerational video with your grandparents, other family members, teachers or friends. Everyone who participates will receive a certificate of recognition from Secretary of State Tahesha Way.

To SUBMIT A VIDEO:

First - Think of how you would tell others - your friends, colleagues and family about your first voting experience, or if this is your first time voting – what this means to you!

Next - Create a video, up to a minute long, that reflects you, your values and why voting and civic engagement are important to you. You can even record it with your mobile phone if you’d like!

Then - Submit your video by posting it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Make sure your posts are ‘public’ posts so that they can be shared with those other than your friends. Use the hashtag: #NJ26thAmendment. Send the post link in an email with the Subject: ‘26th Amendment Video’ along with your name, your school (optional), and a contact phone number to NJDOS@sos.nj.gov by 11:59 PM on October 26, 2021.

Important: Only 1 submission per individual or group.

Rules:
  1. Make sure you don't use anything in your submission that is copyright protected by someone else. It must be YOUR original work.
  2. Only those submissions where the NJ Department of State is given permission by you to publicly use your first name, school (if you are a student), city, and state in association with the NJ Department of State’s 26th Amendment Initiative are eligible to participate.
  3. Submissions that we deem to be offensive or disrespectful for any reason will be disqualified.
  4. Entrants must be at least 18 years old and live in the United States.

Submission Deadline: 11:59 PM on October 26, 2021. Earlier submissions will be reviewed and posted as received.

Recognition: Certificates will be presented to all participants. Videos will be shared on our social media.

Submission of a video for this event gives the NJ Department of State your full permission to use without fees the video submission, your first name, school (if student), city and state for any purpose associated with our work. This may include website and social media postings and use of your submitted video for testimonials or to create custom campaign items. Artist recognition will be given when your video is used.

We appreciate your submission and look forward to seeing your videos! Invite your friends to come along on the ride because this is going to be a lot of fun!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at NJDOS@sos.nj.govU.

About the 50th Anniversary of the 26th Amendment

This year we are celebrating an important milestone in American democracy! 50 years ago, the 26th Amendment of the Constitution extended the right to vote to millions of Americans by lowering the minimum voting age from 21 to 18.

For years, advocates had argued that if young Americans are old enough at 18 to fight and even die for their country in war, they are also old enough to vote- to choose the leaders who might send them into harms’ way. After repeatedly introducing legislation to lower the voting age without success, Congress successfully passed the 26th Amendment on March 23, 1971, sending it to the states for ratification.

By April 3, 1971 New Jersey had joined 12 other states in ratifying the Amendment. More states followed in rapid succession and on July 5, 1971 the voting age was officially lowered to 18 years old.

Today, young people are a critical part of our electorate. In the 2020 election, New Jersey had the highest youth voter turnout in the country. This year, as we mark this important milestone for our democracy, we are looking forward to honoring the generations of young people who eagerly cast their first ballot and recognizing our newest young voters who will enter the voting booth for the first time.

We’ll be celebrating the 26th Amendment throughout the year! Watch out for our social media posts, an upcoming online video event about first voting experiences, and more. It’s an exciting time for democracy here in New Jersey, so stay tuned!

To learn more about voting in New Jersey, please visit Vote.NJ.Gov

 

A Message From NJ Secretary of State Tahesha Way about the 26th Amendment

 


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