By Shaun Boyd
GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – The City of Golden could become the first in Colorado to lower the voting age to 16 years old. City councilors voted unanimously to put the question to voters.
Mayor Pro Tem Casey Brown says while the idea didn’t come from teenagers, he says many 16 and 17 year olds in Golden are engaged in local politics and would vote if given the opportunity.
“The brain development that teenagers go through, they’re really ready at 16 and 17 to vote,” said Brown.
Council members may be more excited about the idea than some teens.
“That would be interesting, I guess,” laughed 15-year-old Joseph Gray, a sophomore at Golden High School. He told us he probably wouldn’t vote even if the measure passes.
Tristan Huskie, 17, says he’d vote but, “I don’t really know what’s going on in the city much.”
However, he says he’d follow local issues more closely if he had a say in them.
“Definitely a lot of the traffic laws because we’re driving to school in the morning, maybe like the curfew laws, probably the parks, recreation stuff.”
Brown says in Maryland — where two cities have lowered the voting age — 16 year olds are more likely to vote than 18 year olds.
“They’re not moving off to college and wrapping up their final year of high school. They’ve got more time and are studying those issues in high school,” he said. “I think this is a really good opportunity to involve 16 and 17 year olds and hopefully set them up to be lifelong voters wherever they may live.”
The U.S. Constitution sets 18 as the minimum age to vote, but it doesn’t bar states and cities from lowering the age. There are campaigns underway to lower the age in several cities around the country, including Boulder. If the measure in Golden passes, it would take effect next November.