Lowell To Allow 17-Year-Olds To Vote In Municipal Elections - 07.02.12 (RADIO BOSTON)

You may need: Adobe Flash Player.



The City of Lowell is poised to be one of the first communities in the nation to extend voting rights to 17-year-olds. The city’s home rule petition still needs to be approved by the state legislature, but it got a big boost late last week when Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin affirmed that it is constitutional.

You can see why that might have been a hitch: the 26th amendment says suffrage begins at 18. But that’s for federal elections. As it turns out, local jurisdictions can make their own rules. And the Secretary of State determined that if Lowell makes up special ballots for 17-year-olds that only include those local races, legally they’re in the clear.

The “Vote 17″ campaign is an initiative of the United Teen Equality Center in Lowell.