From coast to coast, young people are building a movement to lower the voting age for local elections. The argument is simple: if 16- and 17-year-olds can have jobs, pay taxes, drive cars, donate to political campaigns, and more, why shouldn’t they be allowed to participate in our elections?
Cities and towns in California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, and elsewhere have passed local measures that allow eligible 16- and 17-year-old residents to vote. In Maryland, the movement has grown to five different cities, with new measures emerging each election cycle.
In Massachusetts, major cities like Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville have all passed petitions to lower the voting age. Unfortunately, because of state preemption laws, those petitions are on an indefinite hold. Our friends at Common Cause Massachusetts are advocating for the EMPOWER Act next legislative session, which would allow these “home rule” petitions to go into effect.