Voting at polling station (photo credit: NBC News)

At the upcoming council meeting, the City Council will discuss extending the voting franchise in City elections to residents aged 16-18. Currently, seven cities in Maryland allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote.

According to staff, these residents can already register with the state and County, so College Park would just need to notify the state of this change.

Implementing this would require an amendment to Section C4 of the City Charter, necessitating a Public Hearing for public input. If the Council wishes to proceed, they can request the City Attorney to draft a Charter Amendment Resolution. This could be implemented by the 2025 election with adequate public education and outreach.

More information about lowering the voting age to 16 can be found at Vote16 USA.

Currently, seven Maryland cities (Takoma Park, Hyattsville, Greenbelt, Riverdale Park, Mount Rainier, Chevy Chase, and Somerset) and two other American cities (Brattleboro, VT, and Newark, NJ) allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote.

Staff does not anticipate any cost impact on the election budget in extending voting rights to 16 & 17-year-olds for City elections. There may be a cost associated with advertising the change if a direct mailing is done.
Changes to the City Charter cost about $2,500 in state-required public notice costs (published four times in a
newspaper of record). There is also a cost associated with every update to the City Code/Charter from our Code publisher, General Code.