AMHERST — Voters in the Massachusetts House 3rd Hampshire District on Tuesday were supporting a non-binding ballot question favoring legislation that would lower the legal age for buying beer and wine to 19.

With 12 of 13 precincts counted, according to the Associated Press, those in favor of lowering the drinking age led those opposed, 8,483 votes to 8,173.

The question was considered only in the 3rd Hampshire District and was the only public policy question on any state ballot. The district includes Amherst, Pelham and one Granby precinct.

The question was initiated by Matthew Malone, a 48-year-old federal government actuary from Washington who has never lived in the district.

“I don’t consider myself to be an interloper because the only signatures that were certified (to get the measure on the ballot) where those of registered voters in Amherst and Pelham,” he said in a recent email explaining his initiative.

Malone was born in Haverhill and decided to test the proposal in Massachusetts because he still cares about the state and needed only 200 signatures to bring the question forward, he said.

The 3rd Hampshire District made sense, he said, because it is the home of state Senate President Stan Rosenberg, the University of Massachusetts and Amherst and Hampshire colleges.

“I did not want to try a municipal ballot question since the drinking age is set at the state level. I don’t have resources yet for a statewide ballot question,” he said.

Malone is a longtime member of the National Youth Rights Association and believes that the drinking age of 21 is age discrimination against legal adults.

“A person is legally an adult at age 18. At age 18 a person can legally enter into contracts, marry without their parents’ permission and serve in the United States military,” he wrote on

“If the 2016 question outcome is favorable, then I hope to put the same or somewhat similar question on the ballot in one or two other House districts in Massachusetts in 2018,” he said.

If the district measure is approved, he will look for funding for a statewide ballot question in 2020.

If it loses, he said he would look at other age-related issues such as the minimum age for renting a car or hotel room, the minimum age for online sports fantasy leagues such as DraftKings and curfews, he said.
November 10, 2016 – 06:08PM ET
Question – 5or6 – Drinking Age 3rdHampshre – Ballot Issue
Lower drinking age to 19
Massachusetts – 13 of 13 Precincts Reporting – 100%
Name Votes Vote %
Yes 8,483 51%
No 8,173 49%
November 9, 2016