YEO Policy Books 2015 Policy Book - Page 15

Lowering the Voting Age to 16 years-old Origin: City Council of Hyattsville, Maryland Bill Name/Number: Charter Amendment Resolution 2014-04 Link: Click here YEO Sponsor: Councilmember Patrick Paschall Summary: In January 2015, Hyattsville, Maryland became the second municipality in the country to lower the voting age for city elections to 16 years old, nearly two years after its neighboring town of Takoma Park took similar measures. Talking Points & Important Information: • This resolution, which passed the city council, enacts that every person who is a citizen of the United States, is at least 16 years of age, resides in the state of Maryland, resides within the corporate limits of the city of Hyattsville, and is registered in accordance with the provisions of the city charter shall be a qualified voter in any or all city elections. • Extending suffrage to 16 and 17 year-olds in municipal elections will increase voter turnout by expanding the number of eligible voters and including more citizens in a grounded community. Furthermore, it acknowledges that 16 and 17 year olds are already active participants in societal institutions like driving, education, commerce and employment and enshrines civic participation as another aspect of agency and community participation. • Research found by both Fair Vote and Politico indicates that there is a “trickle up” effect on civic participation when the voting age is lowered. When 16 and 17 year-olds engage in civics, conversations about politics and local issues are focused on known quantities within the home and around the dinner table, unlike 18 year olds who are just transitioning into new college surroundings. • Allowing 17-year-olds to vote has precedence in the United States. In Illinois, people this age could vote in the 2014 primary as long as they would turn 18 in time for the general election – a longstanding rule for participation in Iowa’s caucuses. In fact, young caucus-goers made a remarkable difference in the 2008 presidential elections when they helped propel President Barack Obama to his Iowa caucus victory in 2007. There he won an outright majority among those younger than 25, who turned out in huge numbers compared to the previous election. Without young voters, President Obama never would have reached the White House. 2015 POLICY BOOK LOCAL LEVEL PAGE 15