Mass House to Vote on Second in the Nation 17 Year Old General Election Voting

The Massachusetts House of Representatives will be voting today on S. 317 which would set the voting age for municipal elections in Lowell to 17.  

SECTION 1. Notwithstanding section 1 of chapter 51 of the General Laws, or any other general or special law to the contrary, every citizen seventeen years of age, not being a person under guardianship or incarcerated in a correctional facility due to a felony conviction, and not being temporarily or permanently disqualified by law because of corrupt practices in respect to elections, who is a resident in the City of Lowell where he or she claims the right to vote at the time he or she registers, and who has complied with the requirements of this chapter, may have his or her name entered on a separate list of persons designated to vote therein in any elections of candidates for municipal office in the City of Lowell. – READ MORE

There is one other municipality in the country, Tacoma Park, Maryland, that currently allows under 18 voting.  This was passed in 2013.

In addition to Tacoma Park, the legislature of Illinois has passed a constitutional amendment lowering state and municipal voting age to 17.  It still needs to pass in a referendum to become law.  

In the United States, nineteen states permit 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections and caucuses if they will be 18 by election day. An amendment to the state constitution passed the Illinois legislature that would lower its voting age to 17 for non-federal elections, though states can set their voting age to lower than 18 for federal elections as well. Because it only applies to state elections, 17-year-olds would not be able to vote in primaries and general elections for representatives, senators, and President of the United States even if the amendment passes the legislature and referendum. – Wikipedia

The legislation to enable 17 year old voting in Lowell was pushed by the United Teen Equality Center of Lowell.  

Today’s legislative session starts at noon, and the the bill is on the docket.

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