ANKENY, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds will be issuing a proclamation, declaring March 30 as “High School Voter Registration Day.” It falls on the 50th anniversary of Iowa ratifying the 26th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.
Local voting rights activist John Olsen, better known as ‘Dr. Vote,’ said young voters can often be game-changers in elections. Even though it’s been 50 years, he says lowering the voting age was a long time coming.
“They’re paying taxes. they’re raising families. They’re contributing to the economy. They have a right to vote,” Olsen said. “They should have the right to vote and they do, but it took way too long to get there.”
For the past 30 years, Olsen has been collecting political buttons and memorabilia as a hobby. His collection is at least 3,500 pieces; some of which have even been shown in the Smithsonian.
His passion for our civic duty shows in his involvement. He’s a member of the League of Women Voters, the local chapter of the NAACP, and a poll worker.
On this anniversary and statewide push to get high school students registered, he encourages young people and everyone to get involved.
“As our country has progressed, we have expanded the right of suffrage,” Olsen said. “That’s really what my collection’s about, is expanding and making sure all of the members of society get out and vote.”
State law allows 17-year-olds to register to vote. To register online, click here.