If you’re old enough to drive, are you old enough to vote? You soon will be if you live in Takoma Park, Md. The famously progressive suburb of Washington has just extended voting rights in municipal elections to 16- and 17-year-olds. Takoma Park was the first city in the country to take such a step, but its action is part of a larger trend toward letting people vote earlier. “We’re not the first community to talk about the idea and I doubt we’ll be the last to adopt it,” says city council member Tim Male, a cosponsor of the measure, which passed on Monday. The Massachusetts Senate on Wednesday held a hearing on the question of allowing municipalities to extend the franchise to citizens younger than 18, as the Lowell city council has twice attempted to do.
“Our elected officials represent those who can vote,” says Alex Koroknay-Palicz, a former executive director of the National Youth Rights Association (NYRA) and a recent transplant to Takoma Park. “Those under the voting age have a lot at stake in this country, but have never been represented.”
A dozen states allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries, as long as they will turn 18 in time for the general election. An additional 14 states allow citizens to register to vote prior to turning 18.
The voting age itself has been lowered to 16 in a number of countries, most recently Argentina last fall. Northern Ireland and Scotland have been debating the question as well.
Full Article: Maryland Suburb Says 16 Is Old Enough To Vote : NPR.