NYRA Chapter Leader Mahsiah Imes with N.C. Senator Ben ClarkMe with N.C. State Senator Ben Clark.

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 old. It was a very successful meeting as I shared some reasons to lower the voting age. Mr. Clark agreed that 16 and 17-year-olds are more than capable to vote. He also seems to agree with the fact that lowering the voting age in local and eventually all elections will increase voter turnout. When I asked him to introduce a bill to lower the voting age in the state of North Carolina he said that he would have to have the professional staff look into whether it violates the state’s constitution. We also discussed the possibility of introducing a bill that would allow cities to have the option to lower the voting age to 16 in local elections, but he responded enthusiastically that he would like to introduce a bill that will lower the voting age to sixteen in all municipalities so that it wouldn’t be different in different cities. He felt that it didn’t makes sense for someone to be able to vote in Raleigh at sixteen and eighteen in Fayetteville and that it would be better to be sixteen across all cities. NYRA-Cumberland County will follow up with Mr. Clark and will continue to work with him on the best way forward to expand voting rights in North Carolina. Soon we hope to join other states with active voting age bills in their legislatures.

Mahsiah Imes is a Chapter Leader for NYRA-Cumberland County, N.C. and is working on lowering the voting age and student rights in Fayetteville, N.C. and surrounding areas.