CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is set to announce a proposal to amend the Constitution to raise the voting age from 18 to 25.
Ramaswamy caught up with Fox News Digital on his tour bus as he traveled through the Hawkeye State amid the growing GOP presidential primary.
The former CEO told Fox News Digital that he plans to announce a constitutional amendment to raise the voting age from 18 to 25, unless a person serves the nation in the military or as a first responder or can pass the civics test immigrants take when becoming citizens.
Ramaswamy plans to announce the Constitutional amendment proposal during a Thursday evening rally with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.
‘We’re going to be talking about this to a large audience of actually young people in Iowa,’ Ramaswamy said. ‘Gov. Kim Reynolds is going to be there tomorrow. There was going to be the perfect place to roll this out tomorrow night to lay out one of the most, I think, bluntly, ambitious proposals we’ve rolled out in this campaign.
‘Which is to say that we want to restore civic duty in the mindset of the next generation of Americans. And how we want to do it is to say that, if you want to vote as an 18-year-old, between the ages of 18 and 25, you need to either do your civic duty through service to the country — that’s six months of service in either military service or as a first responder, police, fire or otherwise — or else you have to pass the same civics test an immigrant has to pass in order to become a naturalized citizen who can vote in this country.’
‘At age 25, that falls away,’ he added.
Ramaswamy said he believes the amendment will drum up civic engagement in America and lead to a more informed population of voters.
The GOP candidate also said his proposed amendment would ‘supercede’ the 26th Amendment that sets the national voting age to 18.
Ramaswamy noted that the 26th Amendment was passed in 1971 and that one ‘of the arguments for that was that if you’re going to have a draft, military draft, that brings 18-year-olds in, then they ought to have the right to vote.’
‘Which, actually said, that this is a relatively familiar notion to us, tying the voting age back then to the age that you could be drafted in the military says that there’s a deep and this is a long-standing tradition in our country, tying civic duties to the privileges of citizenship,’ he said.
Ramaswamy told Fox News Digital that the proposal is ‘fundamentally different’ to Jim Crow laws and that there is ‘no room for funny business like you had in the Jim Crow era.’
‘We literally require people to pass that test to vote today,’ he said. ‘If you’re an immigrant, I’d say the same thing applies if you’re an 18-year-old who graduates from high school who wants to vote.’
‘But you don’t have to do it that way,’ he continued. ‘You could also do it by doing a minimal amount of service to the country.’
Ramaswamy said he hopes the amendment will help younger Americans get out and vote more by ‘making voting something that’s a true privilege by attaching real civic duty to it.’
‘I think we will make it more desirable to vote by actually adding more meaning to the act of voting rather than just emotion that people go through or accustomed to going through. And I think that will actually be positive for our civic culture. And I also think that this can be unifying,’ he explained. ‘Whether you’re the kid of a billionaire in the Upper East Side of Manhattan or whether you’re the daughter of a single mother in the inner city, it doesn’t matter. You have the same requirements to be part of the special group of people at a young age who get to participate in deciding who governs the country. And I think that restores a sense of civic equality and a sense of civic duty that we have long missed in our country.’
Ramaswamy called his amendment proposal not a Republican or Democrat idea but ‘an American idea for restoring civic duty and civic pride in the next generation of Americans.’
Last week, Ramaswamy said he’s already poured eight figures of his own money into his 2024 campaign and emphasized that there’s ‘no limit’ to what he’ll continue to invest into his White House run.
Ramaswamy, a health care and tech sector entrepreneur, best-selling author, conservative commentator and crusader in the culture wars who declared his candidacy for president in February, is worth roughly $600 million, according to Forbes. And Ramaswamy hasn’t disputed past estimates that he has a net worth of half a billion dollars.
‘There’s really no limit to what we’ll put into this campaign,’ Ramaswamy said in a Fox News Digital exclusive national interview following a campaign event at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
The 37-year-old first-time candidate noted that ‘we’ve already made an eight-figure investment in this campaign. Combine that with nearly 30,000 unique donors in just the first 10 weeks. … There’s going to have to be a grassroots movement that lifts this up, but given the family sacrifice that we’re already making, there’s no limit to the financial sacrifice that we’ll make as well.’
Pointing to the $500 million that multibillionaire business and media mogul Mike Bloomberg spent in just four months in his unsuccessful campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Ramaswamy said, ‘I do think that Michael Bloomberg proved it — you can’t buy elections in this country, which I think is a good thing. The people of this country are too smart for that.’
But Ramaswamy said that his wealth ‘is going to be something that allows us to compete. I don’t have years of political lists and campaign bases to draw from or existing donors — big donors who are viewing me as their sort of guy. That’s the part that we’re skipping by actually having independent, self-created wealth, and frankly, that actually gives me some latitude many of those professional politicians don’t have because those donors — especially mega-donors — have expectations. I don’t dance to anybody else’s tune but to voters who we actually serve.’
Fox News Digital’s Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.