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Mount Rainier will allow residents as young as 16 years old to vote in city elections. At its Jan. 5, 2021, City Council meeting, Mount Rainier officials unanimously approved a charter amendment lowering the voting age to 16.
Just across the county line, Takoma Park was the first city in America to lower its voting age to 16 in 2013, according to Vote16USA, a group that pushes to lower the voting age. Hyattsville followed suit in 2015, and Mount Rainier’s legislation is based on Hyattsville’s ordinance. Greenbelt and Riverdale Park have also lowered their voting age to 16. According to The Washington Post, San Francisco is also considering a similar measure.
Mount Rainier’s legislation was sponsored by Councilor Bryan Knedler.
Advocates argue that lowering the voting age can increase turnout in elections and increase civic engagement among young people.
And while voters can be as young as 16 years old now, the law also specified candidates must be at least 18 years old on the day they file their campaign paperwork.
The new law also expanded the city’s Board of Elections from six to eight members.
Mount Rainier’s next election is scheduled for May 2021.
Correction: This story has been updated to correctly note the date of the next city election. Route 1 Reorter regrets the error.