Requirements for serving in the state legislature. The state constitution requires that a representative or senator in the state legislature be at least 25 years old, be a United States citizen, and reside in the district from which he or she is elected for at least twelve months prior to being elected. Referendum L lowers the age requirement to 21. The existing age requirement has been in the state constitution, unchanged, since 1876.
Further info at Colorado Ballot – The Qualifications for Serving in the State Legislature Initiative.
Younger candidates may lack the maturity and real-world experience to be effective legislators. The policy decisions and political pressures that legislators face are best handled by people with more life experience. Lack of experience could hinder a young legislator’s ability to represent a constituency effectively.
The current age requirement strikes an appropriate balance between youth and experience. It has been the standard for Colorado since the enactment of the state constitution. Further, it aligns with the age requirement for service in the United States House of Representatives and many other state senates.
Excluding 21- to 24-year-olds from seeking election to the state legislature is an unnecessary restriction. A 21-year-old is considered an adult under the law. Voters can judge whether a candidate possesses the maturity, ability, and competence to hold political office without regard to age.
Allowing 21-year-olds to run for office encourages civic engagement of young people. By opening access to the ballot to a wider group of potential legislative candidates, young candidates and their supporters can offer a new and different perspective on issues that come before the state legislature. Additionally, young legislators can encourage legislative debate on and elevate issues important to young adults.
This is a reasonable question to bring to the voters and a candidate at age 21 has been an adult for 3 years, can vote, and has usually been working and/or in college or the military for those 3 years. If a candidate is “too young,” the voters can make that determination at the ballot box. Vote Yes.