The 26th Amendment was passed by Congress on March 23, 1971, and ratified July 1, 1971. New Hampshire ratified the 26th Amendment on May 13th, 1971. The 26th amendment granted the right to vote to American citizens aged eighteen or older.
NH House Representative Mel Myler was directly involved with this process and here is what he has to say: "There is a little-known story of the grassroots effort to pass this amendment. In 1967, I was fortunate to be at the heart of initiating the creation of the Youth Franchise Coalition which became the sponsoring organization/movement to establish enabling 12 million new voters to enable them to participate as voters in the election process."
Rep. Mel Myler
Representative Mel Myler is serving in his fifth term in the NH House of Representatives. He is the ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee and past chair of that committee. He is the retired Executive Director of the NEA New Hampshire and Director of Field Operations for the National Education Association. In 1967, Mel was the initial organizer of NEA’s Project 18 which founded the Youth Franchise Coalition and ultimately coordinated the grassroots effort to achieve the 26 th Amendment to the US Constitution.
Rep. Renny Cushing
Leslie (Les) C. Francis
Les Francis is a communications specialist and public affairs strategist with extensive experience in both the private and public sectors. He is a highly regarded policy and opinion leader in national political circles.
Mr. Francis has worked at the highest level of politics and government at the national level. He was chief of staff to then Representative Norman Y. Mineta (D-CA), and Deputy Assistant and Deputy White House Chief of Staff to President Jimmy Carter. He has managed or advised campaigns for office at every level of government, from City Hall to the White House. And, at different points in his career, served as Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Born and raised in San Jose, CA, Francis was educated in public schools there, and received a BA degree and high school teaching credential from San Jose State University. In 2006, the College of Social Sciences at SJSU recognized him with the first ever Outstanding Graduate award. For nearly twenty years, Mr. Francis was a faculty member of political communications at George Washington University, where he taught courses in campaign communications and political campaign ethics.
A major focus of Mr. Francis ’ career and life has been spent in education. He began his career, at the age of 24, as the youngest person ever employed in a professional staff position of the California Teachers Association. Later, working for the National Education Association in Washington, DC, he was one of the original organizers of the campaign that resulted in passage and ratification of the 26 th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which extended the franchise to 18-21 year olds .
Patricia Keefer, Director, International Affairs Department, American Federation of Teachers; heads the AFT’s advocacy human rights and labor rights worldwide. She has played a leadership role in political and constitutional reforms in women’s rights, voting rights, and youth political participation in the U.S. and globally as well as democratic development projects in every region of the world. She served as the on-the ground manager of election and democratic governance programs in many countries; including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, Czechoslovakia, Chile, Bolivia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi. She is acknowledged for her role as co-chair of the national campaign to amend the U.S. constitution with the ratification of the 26th amendment and is collaborating on a book and virtual historic archive. She attended the University of Cincinnati and holds two appointments at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School Government, Harvard University, as a fellow in political organizing and participation.
Rep. Safiya Wazir
Rep. Safiya Wazir lives in Concord with her husband and three children. After graduating from high school in Concord, NH, she attended college and received a degree in business administration from NHTI. She became a community activist,working with a number of organizations. She has served on the policy council of Head Start. She serves on the board and as treasurer of the Community Action Program of Belknap and Merrimack Counties, and she is on the board of the Merrimack Valley Day Care. She is proud to call Concord her home.
Rep. Joseph Depalma, IV
Joe DePalma, IV, is a 19 year old rising senior at Plymouth State University, studying Business Administration & Professional Sales. Joe is from Littleton and works for his family's storage container rental business. Joe is an avid trail runner and in his free-time enjoys fly-fishing across the North Country.
Rep. Josh Query
Representative Query is a 2nd term NH State Representative serving Manchester Ward 9 and also serves as the Vice Chair of the NH Stonewall Democrats. Joshua is a graduate of the New Hampshire Institute of Art (Manchester, NH; 2016).
Rep. Joe Sweeney
Representative Sweeney was elected to the NH House of Representatives in 2012. He is a Republican from Salem, representing Rockingham District 08. He is also currently currently Executive Director of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee.
Charlie Olsen, 2021 NH’s Kid Governor and his Executive Council are pleased to present:
You Don't Have to Do This AloneA Poster Contest to Bring Awareness to Childhood Depression
How Can We Help Each Other When We’re Feeling Down?During the COVID-19 pandemic, children of all ages have sometimes felt sad or alone. With over 44,000 students in NH suffering from depression, NH’s 2021 Kid Governor, Charlie Olsen, wants you to know, “you don’t have to do this alone”. We all need a support system, someone we can reach out to when we are down. We are all in this together and we need to find ways to support each other.
Winning poster submitted by Hannah Ahern of Pollard Elementary School in Plaistow, NH:
The NH Young Leaders Roundtable Discussion: What Inspires You? part of our public discourse series
Hear from young leaders such as the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Manchester movement, a state representative, a school board member, a campaign manager, a legislation tracker, etc., who have taken actions such as planning walk-outs, organizing rallies, holding public office, speaking before the NH legislature and more.
Please join us for a nonpartisan public discussion featuring these five civically engaged young leaders focused on the following questions:
Anna Brown, Moderator
Anna Brown is Director of Research and Analysis for Citizens Count, a nonprofit dedicated to providing unbiased information about New Hampshire policy issues and candidates. She has been with the organization since 2011. Anna is a regular contributor to NHPR, Good Morning NH, and other media outlets. She received her master’s degree in justice studies from the University of New Hampshire.
Jonathan recently attended Whitman College, where he studied philosophy. He is also a 2018 Concord High School graduate. In high school, he led students in a walkout in solidarity with the students of Marjory Stoneham Douglas, testified to the state legislature, and continued to help his peers become more civically engaged. He went on to organize statewide rallies attracting over 4,000 participants. Currently, Jonathan is an elected member of the Concord School Board.
Ronelle is co-founder of Black Lives Matter Manchester and a senior studying Political Science at the University of New Hampshire. An activist since high school, Ronelle served as a public member of the Governor’s state-level Commission on Law Enforcement, Accountability, Community, and Transparency. She was recently awarded “Young Progressive of the Year” by the New Hampshire Young Democrats.
Representative Cassandra Levesque
Cassie Levesque is a State Representative in New Hampshire and a member of the House Committee on Children and Family Law.
As a member of a family who are survivors of child marriage, Cassie has become an advocate to end child marriage in New Hampshire. Cassie’s passion for advocacy began as she was a Girl Scout attending a leadership conference in Rhode Island where she first learned of the devastating effects of human trafficking and child marriage.
Jack Hansen is a first year political science major at American University in Washington D.C. During high school, he participated in Model United Nations, We The People, and was accepted to attend the American Legion Boy’s State program, all of which established an interest in government and politics both in New Hampshire and in Washington. Jack has done volunteer work for multiple campaigns across levels of government and during the 2020 campaign cycle, was hired to serve as campaign coordinator for Jason Syversen, a candidate for NH Senate District 16.
This project was made possible with support from New Hampshire Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities. Learn more at www.nhhumanities.org.
Part of our public discourse series: a three part learning series
Deepen your knowledge about foundational concepts of our constitutional democracy. Do you want to add to your civics knowledge? Do you want to get more civically involved and would like a deeper understanding of how government works? Deepen your knowledge about the following foundational concepts:
This project was made possible with support from New Hampshire Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Session 1 Video Replay
Session 2 Video Replay
Session 3 Video Replay
Calling all youth changemakers! Join young people from around the country at this event focused on the how-to's of youth-led community action. You'll gain tools and strategies for designing your own community action project, and hear directly from a panel of young people who have completed powerful projects in the past. Whether you have taken community action before, or are just starting to think about getting involved, all middle and high school students are welcome.
Project Soapbox is a public speaking initiative put on by Mikva Challenge in partnership with the NH Institute for Civics Education, that calls on young people to develop and deliver an original speech on an issue that matters to them.
We invite you to watch this state-wide virtual mainstage showcase for the 10 outstanding speakers who were chosen to advance in the Mikva Challenge.
The annual William W. Treat Lecture is NH Civics’ premier public event. As the title suggests, it can be a formal lecture, more often, however, it has taken the form of a conversation.
Michael Rebell, LL.B., Executive Director of the Center for Educational Equity at Columbia University’s Teachers College
Jennifer Wood, Executive Director, Rhode Island Center for Justice
Kate Sintros presented on teaching racial justice in a predominantly white state like NH. She shared her practices of utilizing mock trial as well as Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy in her civics and law classes. Attorney Seth Aframe described how he has supported Kate’s instruction.
Aaron Blais presented on how he teaches law using a project-based-learning approach incorporating the Innocence Project and a sentencing activity, You Be the Judge , with Judge Will Delker. He wants teachers to know that fruitful connections between the community and the classroom are plentiful and accessible no matter where you teach in NH, especially in the age of remote learning.
Aaron Blais, Social Studies Teacher, Exeter High School
Kate Sintros, Social Studies Teacher, Hopkinton High School
Seth Aframe, Assistant United States Attorney, New Hampshire United States Attorney’s Office
Honorable N. William Delker, Associate Justice for the New Hampshire Superior Court
If we want children to grow into active citizens - people who will participate in the democratic process, they need to experience the foundational principles of a democratic society in childhood. The elementary school classroom provides many opportunities to model and help children experience many core tenets of democracy in action.
Featuring Mike Anderson, award-winning educator and best-selling author.
A webinar featuring national civic education leader Mary Ellen Daneels of the McCormick Foundation and Illinois Civics.
In this interactive session, explore how to design curriculum to equip students to be responsible, participatory, and justice-oriented members of their community whether in the classroom or engaged in remote learning. Walk away with strategies to promote student voice for agency and advocacy.
Judge Scott Stucky, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
Maggie Goodlander, Lawyer and Adjunct Professor of constitutional law at UNH School of Law
Dr. Janet Breslin, Chair, Dept of National Security Strategy at the National War College, Deputy Staff Director of the US Senate Agriculture Committee and Legislative Director to Senators Patrick Leahy and Donald Stewart
Suzanne Spaulding, Senior Adviser, Homeland Security, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Former Under Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security
Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, Board of Advisors of the Center of Ethics and the Rule of Law, University of Pennsylvania School of Law and Former General Counsel to the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency
Ted McConnell (moderator), Senior Policy Advisor to CivXNow, Director of Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools
The annual William W. Treat Lecture is NH Civics’ premier public event. As the title suggests, it can be a formal lecture, more often, however, it has taken the form of a conversation. Presenting a William W. Treat Lecture to Celebrate Constitution Day featuring national civic education leaders:
Honorable Merrick B. Garland, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Maggie Goodlander, Adjunct Professor of Constitutional Law at UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law, and former law clerk to Judge Garland
NH’s Kid Governor Bootcamp for grade 5 teachers webinar. NH’s Kid Governor Coordinator, Luane Genest will give an overview of the program. Michael Cuddihy, teaching fellow at Sant Bani School, will give participants tips on making candidate videos. Participants will receive the materials needed to bring the NH’s Kid Governor Program to their classrooms.
Please contact us with any questions you may have about any of our programs or would like additional information.