Dear Mr. Speaker, we know you are busy putting the finishing touches on the state’s fiscal 2013 budget. We know you are working hard with your House and Senate colleagues every day to get things done by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year. You have our support.
However, The Sun, the City of Lowell, its 106,000 residents, and the dozens of young adults at the United Teen Equality Center need your assistance on a very special legislative matter: House Bill 1111, Lowell’s Vote 17 nonbinding ballot referendum that is sitting in the House Committee on Bills in the Third Reading and needs a nudge to the House floor for positive action………………..
UTEC teens have worked diligently for two years to make this happen. The proposal would allow eligible 17-year-olds to vote in Lowell municipal elections only — not regional, state or federal elections.
Mr. Speaker, UTEC’s kids have overcome great odds to get this far. They’ve met with nearly every legislator at the Statehouse and answered all their questions. They’ve met with the Secretary of State’s office and followed all the rules and regulations to get a proposed bill drafted. They’ve met with Harvard constitutionalists and amended their proposal to ensure its legality. They’ve received a stamp of approval from the City Council and the city solicitor.
In the end, Mr. Speaker, they just want the right to participate in their city’s democratic process.
UTEC’s bill to lower the voting age to 17 for Lowell municipal elections has gained traction since Secretary of State Galvin reported that changes made to the bill language have successfully addressed prior concerns around the bill’s constitutionality.
As Lowell City Solicitor Christine O’Connor remarked, “The City of Lowell and its law department would like to thank the Secretary of State’s election office and in particular Rep. Kevin Murphy for working closely with us to ensure that, once enacted, its Vote 17 legislation will indeed pass constitutional muster. And thanks to their progressive City Council, 17-year-olds in Lowell will lead the nation in the thoughtful expansion of the ‘right to vote.’”
All over the media, Vote 17 got great stories, complete with videos on national Fox News and Jim Braude’s Broadside show on New England Cable News.
The Teens have successfully won the support of local officials, r legislative delegation, and national opinion makers as reported by the political columnists at the Lowell Sun
A representative from the Center For Information & Research On Civic Learning & Engagement at the university hand delivered a letter to House leaders Thursday, urging them to support the “Vote 17″ campaign.
Here they are preparing for the meeting with the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts.