How quickly could the minimum age requirement (35 years) for the president of the USA be changed?

I got curious when I realised The Rock, LeBron James and Beyoncé have tickets at the major betting agencies, but Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn't! (she will be under 35 in 2020; hence cannot run, at least according to here)

I'm not in any way suggesting that the Dems would, but if they were sufficiently energised to do so, how quickly (theoretically) could a change be made?

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    Small correction to your post - a person has to be 35 to assume office, not to run. If one turns 35 by noon on inauguration day in 2021 (or maybe just the day of... don't know legally how 'time of birth' would factor in), that's old enough.
    – TylerH
    Feb 18, 2019 at 16:25
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    Theoretically - if 2/3 of Congress and 3/4 of states actually wanted to do this - it could be done in a matter of hours. Realistically, it will never happen because those conditions won't be met (you'd be lucky to get 1/4 of states, let alone 3/4.)
    – reirab
    Feb 19, 2019 at 0:56
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    @TylerH as far as I'm aware, there's no legal system in which age accrues according to the time of birth. It always happens at midnight. The person could have been born at any time on or before the January 20th that falls 35 years before inauguration day.
    – phoog
    Feb 19, 2019 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


The age requirement for the president is part of the US Constitution and would require an amendment to pass.

Article II Section 1:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

There is no official time limit on how long this can take. Historically, the fastest amendment was the 26th, which took 100 days, while the slowest was the 27th, taking more than 200 years. Wikipedia has a nice table which includes the timing of amendments in the past.

Practically speaking, the amendment process is complicated enough that an amendment is unlikely to pass quickly in order to help a particular candidate.

In the specific case of the Democrats trying to do it right now in 2019, it's not possible. Proposing an amendment requires two thirds of both houses of Congress or two thirds of the legislatures of the states. Democrats do not control two thirds of either house, nor do they control two thirds of state legislatures. This means that Democrats, acting alone, cannot propose any Constitutional amendments at this time. Actually ratifying an amendment requires three fourths of the state legislatures or conventions in three fourths of the states, an even higher bar that likewise won't be met. Neither party has the kind of supermajority required to pass amendments that the other party doesn't support.

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    Proposing an amendment requires two-thirds of Congress or the States; ratifying one requires three-quarters of the States. Feb 18, 2019 at 16:32
  • @SteveMelnikoff: This is true, but proposal is a prerequisite to ratification. Also, state ratifying conventions muddy ratification quite a bit. It's hard to say which party would control such conventions if they were used.
    – Kevin
    Feb 18, 2019 at 18:59
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    @Kevin Yes, but three-quarters is more than two-thirds, so it's even harder than the answer suggests. Feb 18, 2019 at 20:43
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    @Reed I guess I went on the simple assumption that if Democrats don't control 2/3 of legislatures, they surely don't control 3/4. But in any event I'll try to rework that section.
    – Deolater
    Feb 18, 2019 at 21:24
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    @Bobson The official name for the act of 2/3 of Congress or 2/3 of the states which sends the amendment to the states for ratification is "proposing" it. This is the term used by the Constitution. Congress or a Constitutional Convention decides whether to propose an amendment and the states decide whether to ratify it.
    – reirab
    Feb 19, 2019 at 0:30

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