On Monday, December 11, 2017, Greenbelt, Maryland came one step closer to becoming the third city in the United States to lower the voting age to 16 for all local elections. After successfully gaining the support of the majority of voters in a non-binding referendum, the Greenbelt Youth Advisory Council submitted their proposal to lower the voting age to the Greenbelt City Council. Members of NYRA-DC attended the council meeting where the bill received its first reading. It is believed that because the measure has the support of the voters, the city council is likely to vote in favor of the bill at its next scheduled reading on January 8th. NYRA-DC Chapter members will lend support and speak in favor of the measure at the meeting.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all good news for voting rights that night. Back in November 2016, Glenarden, Maryland became the third town in the United States to grant voting rights to people aged 16 and 17. Merely a year later, members of the Glenarden City Council, many of which were newly elected in the last year, chose to reconsider the right to vote for young people.
That night, members of the NYRA-DC Chapter also attended the Glenarden City Council meeting and along with other voting rights activists expected to be able to inform the council of the many benefits of a lower voting age. However, the city council decided to vote on the repeal without hearing from the public, despite requests to do so. The Mayor also suggested putting the repeal to a public referendum, but this was also denied. Unfortunately, the council decided to remove the voting rights of 16 and 17 year olds by a count of 5-2. NYRA has attempted to contact Glenarden’s newly formed Youth Advisory Committee in hope that they might take up the fight for voting rights.
If you live in the area, and would like to attend Greenbelt’s next council meeting, join NYRA’s DC Chapter, or even start a voting rights campaign in your town let us know.