Holyoke, Mass., Looks At Lowering Voting Age To 16 In City Elections

Apr 30, 2018

A public official in Holyoke, Massachusetts, is pushing to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in city elections. 

Nelson Roman, a city councilor in Holyoke, is planning a hearing in the next few weeks to explore the idea. He's hoping to have a non-binding resolution on the 2019 ballot to gauge public opinion.

Roman said young people are ready to be more involved in the democratic process.

"We've seen young people in a big way, with everything that's going on in Parkland, or Black Lives Matter or the #MeToo movement," he said. "There's a lot of young people involved in all of these movements. It's my hope that they can then organize in Holyoke, and start bringing this to light." 

To lower Holyoke's voting age, the city charter would have to be amended, and the state legislature would have to sign off.

Shelburne, Wendell and Ashfield, Massachusetts, have voted to make the change, and are waiting on the legislature. Three cities in Maryland already allow 16-year-olds to vote in local elections.