Voters cast ballots at Denver's 14th Avenue and Bannock Street polling station on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Asked how they feel about Denver’s pending school board election, some student activists use words like “hopeless” and “frustrated.”

“It’s a decision that is made for you, and you want to have a voice in it, but you can’t,” said Madison Ordonez Erives, a senior at Denver’s East High School and a member of the Student Voice, Student Vote coalition.

“We’re the primary beneficiaries of the educational system, and it’s crazy that we don’t get to have a say,” Kayla Morrison, a sophomore at Denver’s South High School, said.

Student Voice, Student Vote, which is made up of youth activist groups, wants to change that. It is renewing the push to lower the voting age to 16 for Colorado school board elections —  just months after a bill to do that failed to make it out of a legislative committee.


The bill would have allowed 16- and 17-year-olds who pre-register to vote in Colorado to cast a ballot in elections for their local school board, the State Board of Education, and school-related tax and debt questions. It would have treated their voter registration information as confidential.

This latest attempt comes amid a wave of youth activism on everything from climate change to immigration and amid national conversations about lowering the voting age for presidential and other elections.


Erica Meltzer is Bureau Chief of Chalkbeat Colorado, where she also covers the legislature and statewide education issues. Erica was a founding editor of the local news site Denverite. Before that, she covered everything from housing and energy...