NYRA Freedom

ISSN 1933-5229

Volume 3, Issue 3

April 7, 2003


NYRA Campaigns to Lower the Voting Age in Maine
Voting age in Florida
Proof of what we have known all along, distorted by Ageists
Changes in NYRA leadership
Smoking age in California
News from the web
Recruiting events
Chapter news


With an ongoing war, NYRA would like to offer its thoughts and prayers to our troops. With all that is going on in the world, there are still, of course, many important youth rights issues here at home.

NYRA Campaigns to Lower the Voting Age in Maine

NYRA has launched its largest lobbying campaign yet. In response to the passage in committee of LD 640, the Maine constitutional amendment that will lower the voting age to 17, NYRA has decided to take action. A great resource has been created at http://www.youthrights.org/currentproj.shtml, here you can read the text of the bill, see who currently supports the bill, read all the best arguments for lowering the voting age, and learn how a bill becomes a law in Maine. Most importantly however is the form located at http://www.youthrights.org/house.php created for all NYRA members to send letters to the Maine House of Representatives.

We need YOU to write a letter in support of this bill. You don’t have to be from Maine, just make good, persuasive arguments on why the lawmakers should lower the voting age. They will listen to you.

NYRA is working on building support in the state among student groups and has been contacting the media. Our press release will be available online shortly.

Write a letter at www.youthrights.org/house.php

Voting Age in Florida

Recently there have been a number of campaigns to lower the voting age in various parts of the country. There the Youth Civic Rights Movement’s nearly successful campaign in Anchorage, Alaska, as well as ongoing NYRA campaigns in North Dakota, Maine and Washington D.C. Most recently, Miranda Rosenberg has been leading an effort to lower the voting age to sixteen in her home state of Florida. Her website is voteat16.com, there you will find the petition and links to related news articles.

Miranda works and pays taxes, and like all young people, has no say in how that tax money is spent. Miranda could hypothetically, be tried as an adult, and be deemed competent enough to understand her actions, but like all of us, is not given the privileges associated with that competency.

Miranda’s passion for the youth vote was ignited in discussions in AP government class (she has a 4.0 GPA). She has the support of her father, and while this is solely her idea, he has agreed to serve as the “requisite adult sponsor” of the petition.

Ageists argue, as they always will, that the youth are not competent enough to vote. In a state where older citizens were not competent enough to understand the subtle complexities of a butterfly ballot, the argument seems to work both ways.

This is not a NYRA campaign, but we are doing everything we can to help out. Our press release can be found here, www.youthrights.org/docs/2-24-03FloridaPetition.pdf . Over 400,000 signatures are required, so Florida members should circulate the petition.

Scientific Proof of What We Have Known All Along, Distorted by Ageists

Young people are most often as competent as adults to stand trial, its a fact. That’s right, we have scientific proof. A recent study shows that two-thirds of all eleven to thirteen year olds, four-fifths of all fourteen to fifteen year olds, and virtually all sixteen to seventeen year olds, are as competent as adults to stand trial. This comes from a very credible source and the data seems solid. (The full study can be found here www.youthrights.org/juvcomp.pdf)

It takes only a little reason to conclude that if someone is competent enough to stand trial, they are most likely competent to do a few other thing as well. Things such as vote, drive, and drink. This is not only proof of the youth’s competence to stand trial, but our competence in general.

However, there is a down side to this great victory. The researchers distorted their own data, and the media (always an enemy of youth rights) distorted it even more to fulfill their ageist agenda.

NYRA’s press release on this matter can be found here, www.youthrights.org/docs/03-05-03AgeDiffStudy.pdf

Changes in Leadership

Chris Manley has served on the board of directors, and as treasurer for NYRA for two years. He has done a great job, but due to differences of opinion and a lack of time he can no longer serve the organization in the great way that he has in the past.

Manley’s resignation was accepted by the board of directors, and he was thanked for his services. NYRA wishes him the best.

The nominations committee suggested Cory Withers fill the vacant seat on the board of directors. Cory is NYRA’s webmaster and the founder of the North Dakota chapter. NYRA is glad to have him on, and welcomes him to the board.

Smoking Age in California

The government discriminates against the youth more than any other group, and they discriminate against smokers as well. By imposing “smoking ages” they figure they can kill two birds with one stone. In California (like most other states) the smoking age is eighteen, this is a law that violates the civil liberties of those people under the age of eighteen. Ageists in California would like to see the age raised to twenty-one, oppressing eighteen to twenty year olds as well.

NYRA’s own Dennis Hiller, has testified against similar bills in the past. He now finds himself fighting the same battle again. He is working to gain the support of local businesses and organizations.

This brought up an important internal issue. Should NYRA accept money from alcohol and tobacco companies? They voted that is was OK.

We wish Dennis the best and support his cause.

News From the Web

http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20030311-095736-3647r – Liberals, conservatives for student rights

http://www.pressherald.com/news/statehouse/030326voting.shtml – Panel OK’s lowering voting age in Maine

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2003/03/24/013.html – Moscow Considers Curfew

http://www.dallasnews.com/localnews/stories/031003dnmetcurfew.94715.html – Success of teen curfew debated

http://www.kypost.com/2003/03/15/cotap03-15-2003.html – Accused kid must be told of rights

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A44925-2003Mar5.html – The Supreme Debate

http://csmweb2.emcweb.com/search_content/0304/p21s01-lepr.html – Before you suspend me, can I call a lawyer?

http://money.cnn.com/2003/01/31/commentary/game_over/column_gaming/ – Congress VS. Gamers, round two http://www.gopbi.com/auto/epaper/editions/wednesday/accent_e37739d6375411cb0036.html – Teen leads drive to vote at sixteen (Miranda Rosenberg)

http://www.wmtw.com/Global/story.asp?S=1185048&nav=7k6rEe7E – Bill seeks amendment to lower state voting age

http://www.nationalpost.com/national/story.html?id=%7B6C0B195D-3F76-4145-9435-737EEDCCB506%7D – MP’s bill would allow mock vote for teens

http://www.arutzsheva.org/news.php3?id=40062 – Jerusalem considers lowering voting age seventeen

http://www.iberianet.com/articles/2003/03/13/news/news90.txt – Choice for our young troops?


NYRA recruited very successfully at two anti-war rallies in March. Several hundred new members were recruited and over $60 was made in donations. This was only possible with a great of work on the part of NYRA’s DC chapter. We would like to extend our gratitude to Laura, Dave, Alexis, Christine, Flora, and Damien.

Recruiting was done, again very successfully, at a resistance conference in Richmond.

If you live in the DC area and want to get involved in recruiting events please send an e-mail to Laura Finstad at youthrightsdc@yahoo.com.

Chapter News

NYRA DC had a meeting on the fifth. They discussed the specifics of the voting age campaign they are organizing. It has been decided to bring the voting age campaign to Takoma Park, Maryland. This city with a reputation for progressive politics recently enfranchised ex-criminals and it is likely they will be receptive to the idea of lowering the voting age. The chapter will launch its campaign with a rally on the city hall steps on May 17.

On April 25 NYRA-DC and NYRA-High Point will join together to picket in front of a Washington, DC 7-11 that limits entry based on age. The chapter has a long list of bands willing to play a benefit concert for the organization, but they still need a venue.

A new branch of NYRA-DC is being formed in High Point High School in Beltsville, MD. They have all ready had meetings and have the support of the faculty. Teach-ins on Youth Rights and other timely issues will be held at the school. NYRA-DC helps to set up other school affiliated chapters in the area.


This has been an exciting month for youth rights. A lot of things are brewing now, and with a little bit of luck, we can expect many great victories in the future.