- TEEN SPACE
Let Lowell Vote to lower the voting age in our local elections!
"LET LOWELL VOTE" TO LOWER THE VOTING AGE TO 17 IN OUR MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS!
From day one we have not given up despite many barriers. We have only been successful to date because of the support from our allies, endorsers and supporters from Lowell to Washington D.C.
On January 16, 2014 The Massachusetts Senate voted to include Vote 17 as an amendment in its version of the election reform package S.1975. Now that the House and Senate have both passed their own versions, a Conference Committee has been assembled. The Committee will be meeting to resolve the bills and come to a middle ground.
Join us in our effort to ask these six member to please include the Senate's inclusion of Vote 17 in their final version to be sent to Governor Patrick! Please contact the members by the end of February:
Senator Barry Finegold (D-Andover) | Phone: 617-722-1612 | Email: Barry.Finegold@masenate.gov
Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) | Phone: 617-722-1650 | Email: Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov
Senator Bob Hedlund (R-Weymouth) | Phone: 617-722-1646 | Email: Robert.Hedlund@masenate.gov
Representative Michael Moran (D-Brighton) | Phone: 617-722-2014 | Email: Michael.Moran@mahouse.gov
Representative James Murphy (D-Weymouth) | Phone: 617-722-2460 | Email: James.Murphy@mahouse.gov
Representative Paul Frost (R-Auburn): | Phone: 617-722-2449 | Email: Paul.Frost@mahouse.gov
Why should we lower the voting age in Lowell to 17 in our city?
- In December of 2010, Lowell teenagers packed City Hall to watch as Lowell City Councilors voted 7-1 and passed a resolution to send a Home-Rule petition to the Massachusetts State Legislature to let Lowell lower our voting age to 17 in municipal elections. The teens in Lowell and our City Council agree - now is the right time to lower our voting age to include High School seniors in the municipal election process.
- Lowell High School has a well-known "Public Service and Civic Engagement Academy" through which 'students will be guided in developing leadership qualities to fully participate in our democratic society.' In addition to this academy's efforts, UTEC teen organizers are simultaneously working with Teens Leading the Way in trying to get a civics course back into our high schools. We believe that an increase in civic knowledge in high school environments as well as lowering the voting age to include more high school students will help our community by: increasing voter turnout in local elections, create positive civic habits in young citizens, increase youth voices and their participation in decision-making processes.
- New research has just been published which supports initiatives to lower the voting age. In a written statement, Peter Levine, Director of The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) supported this research by saying, "Hart and Atkins find that Americans at age 17 score about the same on questions about political knowledge, tolerance, political efficacy, perceived civic skills, and community service as 21-year-olds, probably because their experience with civics classes, service projects, and so on are more recent." Levine sums up the report by concluding with, "another way of looking at the data is that teenagers' scores are quite close to the average for all adults." Levine agrees that now is the time to lower the voting age.
THIS PETITION WILL PLAY A VITAL ROLE IN THE CAMPAIGN AS IT WILL BE:
- Presented at Legislative public hearings
- Presented to Representatives and Senators to gain their support from their constituents
- Presented to Governor Deval Patrick
A HISTORY OF "THE CAMPAIGN TO LOWER THE VOTING AGE TO 17 IN LOWELL MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS"
- The campaign was born at a Youth-Led City Council Candidate Forum in 2009 where 18 out of 19 candidates supported the idea.
- The bill has been filed in two consecutive legislative sessions and continues to make it through the Joint Committee on Election Laws.
- Most recently, under the leadership of Senator Eileen Donoghue, the Senate voted 30-7 to include Vote 17 in their Election Reform Bill which was passed. With the House already passing their own version of election reform, the effort now heads to a Conference Committee which could decide to send Vote 17 to the Governor's desk!
- If passed at the statehouse, residents in our City of Lowell will have the opportunity to vote on it as a local ballot question next fall. We want this Right!
We cannot do it alone! You can help by signing our petition, sending an email or calling your representatives. Contact UTEC youth organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org to get more involved.