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Council to Consider Allowing 16 and 17 Yrs Olds to Vote in City Elections

At tomorrow’s worksession, the City Council will consider a proposal to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in City elections.

Recently Takoma Park and Hyattsville have passed laws allowing 16 and 17 years olds to vote. They are the only two cities in the entire country that have passed such laws. Some other countries, such as Scotland have similar laws.

Supporters of the proposals argue that providing 16- and 17-year-olds the ability to vote is likely to increase their level of political participation throughout their lives. However, critics point to other studies that suggest 16 and 17 years old teenagers often lack the several elements of psycho-social development that characterize adults as mature, including the capacity for autonomous choice, self-management, risk perception, and the calculation of future consequences.

Because the current county voter list only includes residents of 18-years and older, the City will need to register the 16- and 17-olds in a separate database.

The Council will discuss the logistics of this proposal, this week and whether to put it forward for Council consideration and a public hearing.

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