JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
img

Broward County and the Voting Age

Written by Elijah Manley Jan 03, 2016

When Hyattsville, MD lowered its voting age on January 6th, 2015- I was thrilled. It was my birthday, and the news brought joy to my heart. For so long, I was waiting for some organization or person to take the lead in the fight for youth suffrage. Hyattsville became the second city in the United States to lower the voting age. In April of that year I came back from Washington D.C. with a bright idea. I had been lobbying for an organization, meeting members of congress, judges, and politicians. Meeting Americans was a very interesting thing.

Later I decided that it was time to make Broward County the third municipality to lower it’s voting age. In April, I went to Broward County Commission, and asked them to lower the voting age to sixteen in our county. We live in a county with a population of nearly 2 million. There are about 400, 000 young Americans who can’t legally vote living in our county. Generally, I received a lot of positive feedback from the County Commissioners. One of them has been very beneficial to the process. Dale Holness, from District 9, has helped me push my agenda a little further. He has spoke in favor of it, has consulted with legal professionals and his peers on the commission.

Since then, I’ve been back and forth to the offices of these commissioners, lobbying, doing everything I could do to influence their support or excitement about this. The former Mayor, Tim Ryan has been somewhat helpful, but has remained neutral and has released no public statement of support. However, the new Mayor Marty Kiar seems to be supportive. After speaking with Commissioner Holness, he recommended that one day, I pack the commission chambers with students. He stated that this would not only get the attention of the commissioners and meeting attendants, but the thousands of people watching via Television. He also recommended that I send letters, make public appearances and speeches, release op-eds, and consult with my peers. I’ve done just that.

One night I received a phone call from a high source who works aside the commission. Our hard work had paid off temporarily. The news was that five out of the nine commissioners would support the resolution. This brought so much comfort and relief to me. The only issue was, there’s one member who is leaning a little bit away from the resolution. This has prevented the commission from setting a date for voting.

The most recent news was acquired by me this week. I was invited back, to speak before the commission on January 12th, 2015. I will not only skip school to attend at 10-am, but I’m bringing my peers with me. The recommendation to pack the commission chambers with students will be taken. I am hoping that the County Commission announce what’s next, as they have not responded to my requests for information in the last few months.

We are so close to making history. Not only will the voting age be lowered, but the County will establish a Youth Commission (which includes 9 Youth Commissioners and a Youth Mayor). Visit Broward.org to watch the commission meeting on that date. I will present my case and so will other students who are passionate about this issue. This struggle started when one commissioner refused to state whether he/she will support this resolution. So basically, we’ve gotten so far, but we need plenty of support to continue.

We’re using all of our time, resources, money, and support. 2016 is an election year for the commissioners, so they’re looking to support anything controversial that would help them in anyway. Dale Holness has been very instrumental in the fight for progress in Broward County. He’s pro-youth, he listens to young people, and represents his district and community with honor and courage. Just fighting to get one commissioner to support this seemed hard, but Mr. Holness stood up and sided with youth.

We cordially ask all pro-youth rights supporters, NYRA, and all in support of #16tovote to use the hashtag #Broward16 to show support and solidarity with us. I am hoping you’ll join me on this journey. We’ve come a long way, but the light is near.

 

Elijah Manley

#YouthRights
NYRA-Broward County

img

OUR BLOG

img

Alex Jonlin – 20th Anniversary Reflection

As a ten-year-old kid in Seattle, I was already interested in politics. My friends and I marched around the playground protesting the Iraq War, and I...

BY Alex Jonlin
img

Jackie Ferro – 20th Anniversary Reflection

I first got involved with NYRA in 2009, when I was in 8th grade. I had formed a small coalition with some fellow middle schoolers called...

BY Jackie Ferro
img

NYRA-Fairfax Secures Voting Age Endorsements

Thanks to the efforts of the newly formed Fairfax County NYRA chapter, the Fairfax County Democratic Party and grassroots organizations Virginia Democracy Forward and Virginia Civic...

BY Brian Conner
img

Stefan Muller – 20th Anniversary Reflection

I joined NYRA in 2003 after reading about it in a news article about the voting age. This wasn’t my first introduction to youth rights—I’ve believed...

BY Stefan Muller
img

Bill introduced in U.S. House to lower the voting age to sixteen

Last week, U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced a resolution proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would lower the voting age to sixteen throughout...

BY NYRA
img

Over 70 people testify in favor of lowering the voting age in Washington D.C.

On Wednesday, NYRA members attended a public hearing before the Washington, D.C. City Council to support the Youth Vote Amendment Act of 2018. If passed, this...

BY NYRA
img

NYRA-Cumberland County, N.C. kicks off its campaign to lower the voting age

Last week, I met with N.C. State Senator Ben Clark, who I spoke with briefly about lowering the voting age in North Carolina to 16 years...

BY Mahsiah Imes
View More
img

Jackie Ferro – 20th Anniversary Reflection

I first got involved with NYRA in 2009, when I was in 8th grade. I had formed a small coalition with some fellow middle schoolers called...

BY Jackie Ferro
img

Portland Student Rights Union joins NYRA to address Student Rights

Members of Portland Student Rights Union - A NYRA Chapter We originally started the Portland Student Rights Union (SRU) in October 2017 to protest the administration...

BY Portland Student Rights Union
img

Youth Rights Election Results

While the shocking upset for president is at the forefront of media coverage right now, there were several youth rights issues on the ballot yesterday that...

BY NYRA
img

Alex Jonlin – 20th Anniversary Reflection

As a ten-year-old kid in Seattle, I was already interested in politics. My friends and I marched around the playground protesting the Iraq War, and I...

BY Alex Jonlin
img

Over 70 people testify in favor of lowering the voting age in Washington D.C.

On Wednesday, NYRA members attended a public hearing before the Washington, D.C. City Council to support the Youth Vote Amendment Act of 2018. If passed, this...

BY NYRA
img

Big Day for Voting Age in Maryland

Today is a vote-a-rama for the movement to lower the voting age with two Maryland towns taking up the issue at their meetings tonight.  In Greenbelt,...

BY NYRA
img

The West Wing Addresses Lowering Voting Age

NBC's highly popular and Emmy winning weekly political drama, The West Wing covered in depth the issue of lowering the voting age in tonight's episode. A...

BY NYRA
img

NYRA-Cumberland County, N.C. kicks off its campaign to lower the voting age

Last week, I met with N.C. State Senator Ben Clark, who I spoke with briefly about lowering the voting age in North Carolina to 16 years...

BY Mahsiah Imes
img

An interview with the voting age activists of Greenbelt, MD

Jeremy Tuthill and Julia Sharapi of Greenbelt's Youth Advisory Committee campaign to lower the voting age. In last week’s elections, the voters of Greenbelt, MD voted...

BY NYRA
View More