LOWER VOTING AGE TO 16

By Bob Katzen

A bill lowering the voting age from 18 to 16 in the city of Boston for local municipal elections will soon be on its way to the Legislature after being approved 9-4 by the Boston City Council. This “home rule petition” needs the signature of Mayor Michelle Wu, approval by the House and Senate and finally the signature of Gov. Baker before it becomes law.

“The notion that young people may not be mature enough to make decisions like this, I just want to quickly acknowledge oftentimes it’s young people who are educating their parents and their uncles and aunts and older folks about who’s running for office and why they should vote,” said Councilor Julia Mejia, a co-sponsor of the proposal.

No one spoke against the measure at the meeting of the Boston City Council but opponents generally say that 16 and 17 is simply too young for people to vote.

Many cities and towns over the past few years have approved home rule petitions lowering the voting age to 16 for their municipal elections. But none of the proposals were approved by the Legislature and most were shipped off to a study committee where they died.

Mejia knows what she is up against. “We know what happens at the Statehouse. Most things go there to die,” she said.

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