Shawn Fleetwood of Da Fed reports This Maryland Town Just Became The Next Battleground In Democrats’ Push To Let Minors Vote
In a small town less than 10 miles from Washington, D.C., dozens of residents in Cheverly, Maryland, braved the blistering cold and pouring rain to attend Wednesday’s town council meeting and provide testimony on whether the locality should allow individuals as young as 16 to vote in local elections.
“I haven’t heard a good reason for it. I can think of a number of reasons why not,” Fred Price Jr., a Marine Corps veteran and 50-year Cheverly resident, told The Federalist. “[But] I’d like it to go to a referendum, so I [can] have more time to think about it.”
Similar to other municipalities throughout the country, Cheverly’s minimum voting age is set at 18 years old, with Article V of the town’s charter furthermore requiring residents to have lived in Cheverly “at least thirty days prior to the day of any general or special election” in order to vote. Within the past few years, the town council adopted an amendment to Article V allowing non-U.S. citizens meeting such residency requirements to vote in local contests.
Like much of the country when it comes to election-related issues, attendees of Wednesday’s town hall appeared heavily divided on whether to open up the town’s electoral process to minors. Proponents of the initiative argued that lowering the voting age is logical because, as they opined, today’s teenagers are given more responsibilities than previous generations.
“I think teenagers today do bear a lot more responsibility, have a lot more knowledge, and are actually granted privileges that probably weren’t granted to younger people before,” Linda Cruz, who’s lived in Cheverly since 2001, told The Federalist. “I took my kids to get bank accounts and they’re [getting offered] a debit card at age 13. So, there’s a lot more rights and responsibilities happening [at] younger and younger [ages], so why not voting?”
Among those who testified in support of the proposition were minors, including 17-year-old co-founder of the Cheverly Youth Commission Zora Heneghan. During her remarks, Heneghan contended that teenage decision-making regarding issues of higher education and work serves as justification for why the council should approve the measure.
“We’re expected in a couple months to sign our name on a dotted line committing either ourselves or our family to up to $200,000 in [college student loan] debt. That’s a decision that we’re allowed to make when we’re 17,” Heneghan said. “We’re allowed to work. I mean half the people you see here today work for the Cheverly pool. … You have literally put the lives of your children in their hands.”
As described on the town’s website, the Cheverly Youth Commission is an organization “committed to promoting youth engagement” in the community that strives towards “making sure teenagers are informed about town politics, volunteer opportunities, and community gatherings in order to become better voters and more active members of the town.” The group proposed the “Vote16” measure.
But not everyone in Cheverly is completely sold on the idea of minors voting in town elections. During his testimony, Navy veteran Mike Klauser raised numerous points contesting the idea that individuals as young as 16 are equal to adults when it comes to “civic responsibility.”
We’ve “heard the proponents talk about responsibilities [such as] lifeguarding. I’m sure the lifeguard[s] here will recall having to get a youth work permit that required [their] parents to … sign off on,” he said. Proponents also “talked about indebting themselves for college. That would require a parental co-signature if you’re under 18.”
While speaking with The Federalist, resident Hugh Fike similarly expressed concerns about how “the mechanics” of such a policy would work and its potential consequences, especially as it relates to “legal rights” granted to individuals once they turn 18.
“We preclude purchasing of tobacco and alcohol in the county … [and] prevent people from going into contracts, signing leases, [and] doing other things at a certain age. So, there are some practical questions about whether or not this is a good idea,” Fike said. “We rightly recognize that 18 to 21 years old [is] sort of when full maturity happens, and we give them a certain number of legal rights and responsibilities. So, I’m primarily concerned that we’re going to be changing that … and we don’t really know the consequences.”
Since youth routinely feel liberal when young, before they start filing their own taxes, they're easy marks for Democrats.