Oakland youth are one step closer to voting in school board elections following the City Council’s recent decision to put the idea on the November ballot.

City councilmembers voted unanimously for the idea during their May 19 meeting, and if voters approve it, 16- and 17-year-olds will have the right to vote for school board directors.

The change would make Oakland the sixth city in the country to lower the voting age to 16 in some way. Berkeley is one of the six and San Francisco is considering a similar idea.

Oakland youth had been working on a youth voting idea for some time and were excited youth in other cities were working on a similar idea, said Lukas Brekke-Miesner with Oakland Kids First, a group that provides a voice and power for youth in schools.

If the youth convince enough voters to vote for the charter amendment, the earliest the youth would be allowed to vote in school board elections is 2022.

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.