Sixteen-year-olds vote in Baltimore primaries

Sept. 16, 2003, midnight | By Allison Elvove | 17 years, 4 months ago

Law enacted to lower age limits for voting

As a result of an unprecedented electoral decision, sixteen-year-olds in Baltimore were eligible to cast ballots in the primary elections for mayor and City Council last Tuesday, September 9, according to The Washington Post.

A 1999 referendum changed the Baltimore mayoral general election from 2003 to 2004 in order to increase voter turnout and save money. However in the spring of this year, the General Assembly learned the referendum did not in fact, move the primary to 2004; only state legislators have the authority to alter the date, stated The Washington Post.

The referendum also stated that if an elected official lost the primary, he or she would continue in office for 14 months until the general election in November 2004. This hiatus allowed voters, who were 16 and 10 months of age or older, to register for the primaries. The number of 16- and 17-year-olds who actually registered was less than 1% so their votes were not expected to drastically affect the election's outcome.

According to The Washington Post, Barbara Jackson, who is the election director for the Baltimore City Board of Elections, said 855 out of 285, 579 registered voters were 16 years old, and 1,566 were 17. She added that one reason the turnout might have been lower than usual was Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) seemed very likely to win the mayoral primary election with his high approval ratings and $2 million in contributions. Andrey Bundley, O'Malley's main opponent, is running for the first time. He currently is a high school principal with fewer financial endorsements.

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Allison Elvove. Allison Elvove was a Co-Editor-in-Chief of Silver Chips Online during the 2004-2005 school year. She wrote more than 70 articles while on the staff and supervised 40 student journalists, editing articles on a daily basis. During her time as editor, Silver Chips Online won the … More »

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