I'm very proud to be a resident of Takoma Park, Maryland which extended the right to vote to 16 year old and 17 year old residents this past July. In this move, Takoma Park has the youngest voters in the nation, creating a pathway for engaged political participation.
The voter turnout was modest but the results do seem to support the notion that young people are interested in the political life of their community. From the CIRCLE blog, "A total of 59 under-18 Takoma Park residents who are 16 or 17 voted in the November 5 election, and a significant number of them took advantage of same-day registration.
Those 59 residents make up 16.9 percent of eligible voters in that age group, which is nearly double the 8.5 percent turnout rate of eligible voters 18 and up. It also is about 42.1 percent of registered voters in that age group, which is more than four times the turnout rate (10.2 percent) among registered voters 18 and up."
These numbers show a promising practice to increase youth political engagement. You can read more about the Takoma Park election from FairVote, a Takoma Park based organization.
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