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Top News: Campaign Seeks to Lower the Voting Age in Local Elections

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  • Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2017 00:54:18 +0000
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Sustainable City Network

August 23, 2017


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Campaign Seeks to Lower the Voting Age in Local Elections

Read this article

Two Maryland cities, Takoma Park in 2013 and Hyattsville in 2015, have successfully extended municipal voting rights to 16- and 17-year-olds, as highlighted in a recent study by Vote16USA.

Massachusetts Students Rally Local Councils to Seek Rule Change

In most U.S. states, 16- and 17-year-old citizens are considered old enough to drive on local roads, work in local businesses, attend local schools and pay local taxes. Now a nationwide campaign is pushing to give these young people the right to vote in local elections as well.

“Lowering the local voting age will help spur renewed attention to civic education in our schools, instill a habit of voting in our youth, and invigorate engagement with our local governments and communities,” wrote teens Aaron Nelson and Max Carr in an op-ed column published last week in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, a local newspaper in Northampton, Mass.

The two young men recently convinced the Massachusetts towns of Ashfield, Shelburne and Wendell to petition the state legislature for permission to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 in municipal elections. They pointed out that in Takoma Park, Md., the first city in the nation to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote, 40 percent turned out for their first election in 2013, with no contested races on the ballot. That, they noted, was a better turnout than the percentage of voters who participated in the 2014 U.S. midterm elections, which reached a 72-year low of only 36.4 percent.


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