This past spring, New York City Councilmember Gale Brewer introduced a
bill to lower the voting age to sixteen for municipal elections.
About a dozen NYRA members were present when the bill was introduced,
and a few spoke at Brewer’s press conference. At a recent meeting, NYRA’s New York City chapter agreed that the
voting age bill was a priority, and that they should work on it.
Brewer’s office stated that all bills died at the end of the term, and
that it needed to be reintroduced as a technicality. Soon, Brewer
will contact the chairman of the Government Operations Committee,
Councilman Felder, and ask that her bill be granted a hearing.
There is some concern that there may be a conflict between the voting
age bill and state law, which has its own regulations regarding the
eligibility of voters. When NYRA members in another part of New York
lobbied for a lower voting age, they were told that they must take the
issue to the state legislature first. NYRA NYC also plans to lobby
for legislation that will clearly articulate the right of a
municipality in New York State to lower its voting age for municipal
elections. Things should begin to move ahead in late February and early March.
If this bill passes committee, it will receive even more press.
Should the bill pass through the city council and the Mayor’s office,
it will partially enfranchise over a million young people and set an
example for the rest of the nation.