Democrats are pushing to lower the legal voting age to 16, and the movement has been successful in some towns around the country.
The “Vote 16” campaign reportedly scored victories in some towns in California, Maryland, and Vermont.
Some towns in California, Maryland, and now Vermont, have lowered the voting age to 16 for local and/or school board elections. Supports feel this is an important way for young people to have a stake in what’s happening and stay involved.@DemsAbroadYouthhttps://t.co/Ooy4qOsO48
— Democrats Abroad (@DemsAbroad) July 2, 2023
Brattleboro, Vermont is the latest town to allow teenagers to vote in local elections.
The Democrat-led state legislature overrode Republican Gov. Phil Scott’s veto allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections and hold the highest elected offices.
Fox News reports:
Specifically, 16- and 17-year-olds can now vote in the southern Vermont town of Brattleboro. Young voters will be able not only to vote in local elections but also to serve on the community’s selectboard if elected. They can also be representatives to the town’s annual town meeting, where local issues are decided.
Rep. Emilie Kornheiser, a Democrat from Brattleboro, said last week that getting more young people to vote will help keep them politically involved.
“Vermont is an aging state and we’re a state that really prides ourself on democracy and participation,” said Kornheiser, according to the Associated Press. “I think the more we can do to bring youth into that process so that they learn the skills and practice the skills of participation and politics with sort of a lower case ‘p’ the stronger our communities will be and the more I think folks will feel tied to their communities.”
Scott had vetoed the bill in late May, arguing in part that it would worsen inconsistencies in Vermont law on the age of adulthood
“I believe it is important to encourage young Vermonters to have an interest in issues affecting their schools, their communities, their state, and their country,” he wrote in a letter to lawmakers. “However, I do not support lowering the voting age in Brattleboro, nor lowering the age to run for Town office and sign contracts on behalf of taxpayers.”
Sixteen- and 17-year-olds Brattleboro, Vermont, will be able to vote in local elections after the Democrat-controlled state Legislature overrode the Republican governor's veto of the Brattleboro charter change. #vote16usa #vote16 https://t.co/vLqv05z8zP
— vote16chicago (@vote16chicago) July 10, 2023
“A half dozen cities and towns in California and Maryland have lowered the voting age to 16 for either all local elections or school board elections, according to the National Youth Rights Association,” Boston 25 News reports.
Boston 25 News added:
Rio Daims, who first starting working on the youth vote campaign in 2018 when she was 16, said while its passage “will bring a new wave of civically engaged youth up through their teenage years,” the legislative process should not have taken so long.
Daims noted the proposal had overwhelming support in Brattleboro. But she also lamented that the original amendment approved by Brattleboro voters included the right to serve on the school board, a provision later removed in the legislative process.
“I see this aspect of the amendment as essential, given that one of the dominant parts of a teenager’s life is their schooling. High school students have little lift in decision making in school, and they deserve more power there,” she said by email.