Hyattsville joining first-ever ‘lower voting age’ study

The City of Hyattsville wants to know what happens when communities lower the voting age to 16.

It is signing on to a first-of-its-kind University of Maryland study, called Vote 16 Research Network.

Hyattsville already allows 16 and 17 year old’s to cast a ballot in local elections only.

“[Teens] are affected by local issues just as much as our older residents,” said Laura Reams, Hyattsville City Clerk and director of Communications and Legislative Services. “We see lowering the voting age as one step toward creating a thriving culture of civic engagement.”

The network is the only long-term study in the nation exploring the issue with the help of community leaders, young voters and philanthropists. It will also include educators who teach about politics and University of Maryland scholars who study the issue.

The City of Hyattsville will give researchers data from an ongoing Special Election in Ward 1. Researchers will look at insights into the types of communications that reach younger voters.

Hyattsville Mayor Kevin Ward said the city should take a closer look at this issue because teens are the voters of the future.

“I am very proud of the city’s participation in this effort and commitment to engaging young people,” said Hyattsville Mayor Kevin Ward. “They are a voice that elected officials should be listening to.”

Nearly a decade ago, Takoma Park made the move allowing 16 year old’s to cast a ballot in local elections. Greenbelt, Riverdale Park and Mount Rainier also allow teens to cast a ballot.

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