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City hall child slavery act?

No precedent for lowering San Diego’s voting age

Why in the heck would Marti Emerald want 16-year-olds to vote?
Why in the heck would Marti Emerald want 16-year-olds to vote?

Should San Diego lower the city’s voting age from 18 to 16? Not such a great idea, opines deputy city attorney Sharon Spivak, a onetime Union-Tribune city hall reporter, in a response to a request for advice from departing Democratic city-council member Marti Emerald.

For starters, if the voting age were changed, 16-year-olds could run for council and mayor. The city charter says elected officials must “devote full time to the duties of their office,” and councilmembers must “attend all Council meetings.” Notes Spivak, “These sections would be at odds with California’s compulsory education laws, which may require that a given voter be in school full-time, or state labor laws.”

There would also be financial costs to consider. Those under 18 would still be “prohibited from voting at the state and federal levels, requiring a separate ballot to accommodate them.”

Adds the advice letter, “There is no precedent for a 16-year-old voting age in California or nationwide, with two small Maryland cities as the only reported exceptions: The first city reported to have passed such a law, allowing 16-year-olds to vote in its municipal elections, is Takoma Park, Maryland, a city of about 17,000 people. The Charter change to allow younger voters was enacted by a seven-person City Council vote in 2013, without a requirement to submit the question to voters. By contrast, California law requires a vote of the people to amend San Diego’s Charter.”

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Why in the heck would Marti Emerald want 16-year-olds to vote?
Why in the heck would Marti Emerald want 16-year-olds to vote?

Should San Diego lower the city’s voting age from 18 to 16? Not such a great idea, opines deputy city attorney Sharon Spivak, a onetime Union-Tribune city hall reporter, in a response to a request for advice from departing Democratic city-council member Marti Emerald.

For starters, if the voting age were changed, 16-year-olds could run for council and mayor. The city charter says elected officials must “devote full time to the duties of their office,” and councilmembers must “attend all Council meetings.” Notes Spivak, “These sections would be at odds with California’s compulsory education laws, which may require that a given voter be in school full-time, or state labor laws.”

There would also be financial costs to consider. Those under 18 would still be “prohibited from voting at the state and federal levels, requiring a separate ballot to accommodate them.”

Adds the advice letter, “There is no precedent for a 16-year-old voting age in California or nationwide, with two small Maryland cities as the only reported exceptions: The first city reported to have passed such a law, allowing 16-year-olds to vote in its municipal elections, is Takoma Park, Maryland, a city of about 17,000 people. The Charter change to allow younger voters was enacted by a seven-person City Council vote in 2013, without a requirement to submit the question to voters. By contrast, California law requires a vote of the people to amend San Diego’s Charter.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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