A Maryland suburb of the nation’s capital this week extended voting rights to 16-year-olds for local elections—expanding on a national push endorsed by Democrat politicians and donors such as billionaire George Soros.
The Town Council of Cheverly—about 15 minutes outside Washington, D.C.—voted unanimously Thursday to amend the town charter to allow younger teens to participate in town elections.
Cheverly, with a population of just over 6,100, joins the Maryland suburbs of Greenbelt, Hyattsville, Riverdale Park, and Takoma Park in allowing teens to vote at the same age they get their driver’s license.
Another Maryland jurisdiction, Glenarden, lowered the voting age to 16 in 2016, but raised it again to 18 the next year, according to the National Youth Rights Association, which advocates voting by younger teens.
In California, Berkeley and Oakland allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in school board elections. Brattleboro, Vermont, also reduced the voting age to 16 for all local elections, according to the association’s status report.
“This charter amendment marks a pivotal moment for our town,” Cheverly Mayor Kayce Munyeneh said in a written statement. “By extending voting rights to youth at age 16, we are empowering the next generation to actively participate in shaping the future of Cheverly. Their voices matter, and this amendment reflects our commitment to inclusivity and the democratic process.”
Some conservative advocates of clean elections argue that voting measures for minors, supported by numerous Democrat groups, are part of the Left’s goal of shaping its electorate in line with voting by felons and noncitizens.
As noted in my book “The Myth of Voter Suppression,” Democrats long have sought to change election laws to gain a political advantage. Surveys show that teens are far more likely to support left-leaning policies, including by embracing socialism.
The council also voted to form a Youth Council to advise the town council on relevant issues.
“Our youth are the future leaders, innovators, and change-makers of Cheverly,” Munyeneh said. “This dual action, both the charter amendment and the formation of the Youth Council, underscores our commitment to actively listen to their voices. We believe in their potential to contribute meaningfully to the growth and development of our community.”
Endorsements for voting by minors overwhelmingly come from Democrats and Democrat-leaning organizations and donors, according to a list on the National Youth Rights Association’s website.
Notably, the endorsement list includes Soros, an investor and philanthropist known for spending his fortune on left-leaning causes.
The list includes Young Democrats of America; High School Democrats of America; several local Democrat Party committees; Oregon Gov. Kate Brown; and former Green Party presidential candidates Ralph Nader and Jill Stein. Also listed as endorsers are the editorial boards of The Washington Post and The Boston Globe.
In 2019, Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, joined a majority of House Democrats in voting for a bill to lower the national voting age to 16. The legislation failed on a vote of 305-126, with 108 Democrats joining all the other Republicans.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., voted for the measure, as did three 2020 Democrat presidential hopefuls: Reps. Eric Swalwell of California, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, and Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.
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