Boston, Massachusetts city councilors recently voted to allow residents age 16 and 17 to vote in municipal elections, WBUR reports.
Councilors voted 9-4 to pass a petition calling to lower the voting age for municipal elections, provided they meet the other preexisting criteria for casting a ballot.
"We have a lot of young people who are working — oftentimes two jobs — just to help support their families, paying taxes, and on the frontlines protesting and trying to find ways to have their voices heard. And every day we make decisions on their behalf," said Councilor Julia Mejia, one of the petition's co-sponsors.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu will make the next move on the issue when the docket reaches her desk. If passed, it would move onto the state Legislature, which Mejia told WBUR could pose problems for them.
"We know what happens at the State House — most things go there to die,” she said.
"I believe that this is an opportunity for us to organize other municipalities across the state and then create the groundswell of support that this initiative deserves and that is led by young people," Mejia added.
Boston Councilor Kenzie Bok said, "I think that if we give our young folks a chance to start forming that voting habit when they're 16 or 17, when they're still rooted in the communities that they lived their whole life in ... that's actually how you build that civic habit that really leads to lifelong civic engagement.”
Many of Boston's neighboring communities, including Cambridge, Brookline, and Somerville among others, have pushed for similar legislation, and state lawmakers have introduced two bills that would allow municipal governments to lower the voting age in their localities.
City Council President Ed Flynn and Councilor Frank Baker both voted against the measure, as did councilors at-large Michael Flaherty and Erin Murphy. Councilors Ruthzee Louijeune, Liz Breadon, Gabriela Coletta, Brian Worrell, Ricardo Arroyo, Kendra Lara, and Tania Fernandes Anderson joined with Bok and Mejia in voting in the measure's favor.
Theodore Bunker ✉
Theodore Bunker, a Newsmax writer, has more than a decade covering news, media, and politics.
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