A Rare Twenty-Sixth Amendment Violation?

“There shall be a silver haired city council to function as an advisory body to the city council on affairs concerning senior citizens of the city.” Kansas City, Missouri Code of Ordinances § 2-821. “The silver haired city council shall consist of 12 elected members.” “Every voter [and candidate] in an election of members of the silver haired city council shall be 60 years of age or older.” (Is it just me, by the way, or is there something weirdly patronizing about the name?)

Yet the Twenty-Sixth Amendment provides that, “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.” And constitutional prohibition on actions by states are generally read as also applying to state subdivisions, such as cities. The Twenty-Sixth Amendment wiped out “21 and over” elections that were common before it; I take it that it would prohibit “60 and over” elections, too, even for purely advisory bodies. But I’d love to hear if any Kansas City residents or others can report on whether elections are indeed held, as the ordinances seem to demand — a search through the Kansas City Star archives revealed that the most recent story about such an election was in 1994 — and on what the turnout tends to be.

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