Hyattsville Lowers The Voting Age to 16!
Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 @ 10:41AM
Hyattsville Lowers the Voting Age to 16!
Hyattsville, Maryland has become the second jurisdiction in the country to lower the voting age to 16 years of age for municipal elections, following Takoma Park, Maryland’s effort to do so in 2013. Following a public hearing in which supporters of the measured turned out in droves, leaving a standing-room-only Council Chambers to hear testimony from supporters as young as 9 years old and as old as in their 70s.
Above, 15-year-old Hyattsville resident Sarah Leonard appears on MSNBC’s “Up with Steve Kornacki” show to talk about lowering the voting age in Hyattsville. Coverage of the story also comes from the Washington Post, New York Times, Telemundo, The Prince George’s Gazette, Hyattsville Life & Times,WAMU Radio, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, WTOP Radio, and many others across the country.
Residents will be eligible to vote in the upcoming May 5, 2015 election for Mayor and 5 Council Members if they turn 16 years of age by May 5th. All voters need to register to vote in order to be eligible to cast a ballot on election day. Residents should register to vote at: https://voterservices.elections.state.md.us/OnlineVoterRegistration/InstructionsStep1
Below is the text of the Press Statement Council Member Patrick Paschall released after the final vote was held.
Hyattsville Gives Final Approval to Voting at 16
Unanimous Vote Ensures Hyattsville Will be the Second in the Country to Lower the Voting Age to 16
Hyattsville, MD, January 21, 2014 –Last night the Hyattsville CityCouncilvoted unanimously to lower the voting age to 16 in Hyattsville municipal elections. In a surprise move, threeCouncilMembersthat had previously opposed lowering the voting age voted in support on Tuesday evening. OneCouncilMemberwas absent. In addition, a proposal to establish a minimum age to serve in elected office failed, allowing everymemberof the voting public to be eligible to serve in elected office in Hyattsville.
“This is amazing, Hyattsville really made history tonight by becoming the second jurisdiction in the entire country to extend the right to vote to residents as young as 16 years-old. We sought public input and heard, overwhelmingly, from the community that Hyattsville is a progressive place that supports lowering the voting age and listening to the voice of under-18 voters in municipal elections.
“The turnout at the public hearing was overwhelming. We had a standing-room-only crowd of residents come speak, varying in age from nine years-old to ages in their 70s to speak in support of lowering the voting age to 16. And the fact that threeCouncilMembersswitched their votes to ‘yes’ so they could be on the record supporting lowering the voting age is huge – it establishes the importance of local organizing.
“The Hyattsville CityCouncilalso made the important decision this eveningnotto establish a minimum age for public service in Hyattsville. What this means is that anyone who is eligible to vote in our elections, including 16- and 17- year old residents, is also eligible to serve their community as an elected official on the Hyattsville CityCouncil. I believe that anyone the community elects as their representative, including residents under the age of 18, has earned the right from their community and peers to represent the voice of their neighbors as an elected representative on the Hyattsville CityCouncil.”
–CouncilMemberPatrickPaschall, Hyattsville CityCouncil