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New Jersey’s Biggest City Grants Voting Rights To Minors

via FOX 2 St. Louis.
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Newark City Council has granted voting rights to 16- and 17-year-olds for school board elections, with unanimous approval.

The measure is based on the idea that minors take on responsibilities such as driving, paying taxes, and working, as well as participating in civic activities.

Council members expressed various viewpoints, with some emphasizing the importance of youth involvement in democracy and others expressing concerns about the potential ramifications.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy supported the measure, highlighting the importance of encouraging young people to engage with democracy.

“We support expanding our democracy and giving our young people the right to vote,” McIver said.

“I don’t think we should punish children for what we as adults have failed to do, and I think if we don’t support [their right to vote] that’s what we’re doing, we’re punishing them from moving forward because of what we as adults and parents have not done,” Councilman Lawrence Crump said.

“If you don’t utilize young people to help you build it, they will be the ones to tear it down,” Councilman Dupre Kelly said.

“I think we downplay their wisdom because we think we elders know it all,” Councilwoman Louise Scott-Rountree said.

“I don’t think they have the financial wisdom to handle that responsibility [of a billion-dollar budget],” councilman Carlos Gonzalez said. “Where do we stop? I believe that we have to be concerned with the slippery slope of going from 18 to 16 to what?”

“My ward is going to be a reflection of a lot of wards the way the country is looking forward, and I think these 16 and 17-year-olds, even though they’re not American citizens, need to have their voices heard as well,” Councilman Michael Silva said.

“I know, to some, this proposal may sound unconventional. But voting is a lifelong habit. And studies show that, if a person votes in one election they are more likely to turn out in the next election,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said. “So, encouraging our young neighbors to engage with democracy, is really about encouraging them to become lifelong voters.”

This move was influenced by the efforts of young activists Anjali Krishnamurti and Yenjay Hu, who advocate for lowering the voting age to 16 in local elections.

“Honestly, when I see young leaders like Anjali and Yenjay, I cannot help but think: is it any surprise that New Jersey has the best public education system in the country?” Murphy pressed.

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