Yesterday night, dozens of students came out to the Takoma Park City Council to support and testify for lowering the minimum voting age from 18 to 16. Some students argued that 16 and 17-year -olds would be able to make educated decisions due to their widespread political involvement and years of taking social studies classes. Others insisted that voting at a younger age would encourage students to be more active in shaping their communities for decades into the future.
Such motivated students made up the majority of the audience. Many at the hearings believed that the numerous student testimonies helped show the City Council that teenagers are ready to handle the responsibility of voting for public officials. “Even at the age of 16, we make mature decisions each and every day. We care for our younger brothers and sisters, take college courses, and have jobs. And tonight we should tell them that if we are to be treated as adults in those aspects of our lives, we need to make sure we are in this aspect, too,” stated one young attendee. Students came from all over the county to advocate for the proposed Takoma Park charter amendment. Supporters range from County Councilor Hans Reimer, to Rockville residents who suggested similar changes for their area.
Reducing the voting age was not the only proposal debated at the hearing. Other topics included allowing voter registration the same day as voting, allowing convicted felons to vote once their incarceration is complete, establishing early voting, and reducing the residency requirement for voting from 30 days to 21 days.
Article by Dahlia Huh, sophomore at Clarksburg High School, SAC High School Communications Deputy