The town of Brookline is seeking approval from the state to lower the voting age to 16. The decision was approved by a 142 to 71 vote in a town meeting Thursday night.
“These elections directly impact these young people,” said board member Raul Fernandez, who is in favor of the idea. It would allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections and make them eligible to become a town meeting member if they were registered.
“At the age of 16, they can start working and paying taxes on that work,” said Fernandez. “There’s no reason why these young people should not have a say in our politics and actually giving them a say in our politics will make us even better.”
However, some say a 16-year-old’s mind is not developed enough.
“I think we need to be older, and maybe in college, and when you start thinking independently to vote with care and so we know what we’re voting on,” said one 17-year-old girl at Brookline High School.
But her twin sister disagreed.
“I feel like people don’t give teens enough credit for what they know, we actually love watching lots of news,” she said. “It’s legit full of people who are going to change stuff in your school, in your town, it’s very much close to home and if we have younger voters maybe we will have better turnouts.”
A Home Rule Petition –which is a request by towns or cities to enforce a new rule specific to their community, under state law — needs to be approved by the Statehouse. The city of Somervillesent a similar requestto the state back in May.