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Effort to lower local voting age to 16 takes next step in Kensington

There's an effort in the town of Kensington, Maryland, to lower the voting age to 16 years old for local elections. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

In some parts of Maryland, residents as young as 16 years old are allowed to vote in local elections. There’s now an effort to make the same change in the town of Kensington.

Miles Carr, whose father is Maryland Del. Al Carr, would like the voting age lowered from 18 years old to 16 years old for town elections. He is 16 years old.

Council member Darin Bartram said action was taken during Monday’s council meeting to move Miles Carr’s idea forward.

“We decided to ask him to gather a petition that represented at least 20% of the town voters,” he said, which would be about 300 signatures.

If enough of Kensington’s registered voters sign the petition, then Bartram said the council will place the issue on the ballot as a referendum. The town’s next election is coming up fast in June, so Bartram said it’s inconceivable that the petition drive can be finished in time for it.

However, there’s no time limit to gather the signatures, so if it is completed sometime in the coming months, the issue could appear on the June 2020 ballot.

Bartram said, generally, he likes the idea of lowering the voting age, but he has mixed feelings about Miles Carr’s effort.

“Part of me wonders if a municipal election is the right place for it because, to be honest, half of our last 10 elections have been unopposed … It almost would be something that would be more effective on a county or state basis,” Bartram said.

Elsewhere in the state, 16-year-old residents can already vote in local elections in Greenbelt, Hyattsville, Riverdale Park and Takoma Park.

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