FairVote Protects Youth Voting Rights in Maryland
Sparked by the story of 17-year-old Sarah Boltuck, a Maryland teenager on the verge of losing her right to vote in the 2008 primary elections, FairVote worked closely with state allies like Sen. Jamie Raskin in winning a dramatic reversal to protect youth voting rights. All 17-year-old citizens who will 18 by Election Day in November 2008 will be able to vote in Maryland's Feb. 12 primary -- a ruling  affecting thousands of voters. FairVote is launching a campaign with other civic groups and the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals to notify eligible students of the registration deadline in the spirit of our vision of universal voter registration.

[ FairVote Coalition Letter ]
[FairVote Legal Analysis of Party Free Association Rights & 17-Year-Olds]
[ Attorney General's Advisory Opinion ]
[ Sen. Jamie Raskin's letter to Attorney General Gansler]
[ MD Republican Party Press Release ]
[ MD Republican Party letter ]
[ MD Democratic Party Press Release ]
[ MD Democratic Party letter ]

Press Coverage
[ WBAL TV - Baltimore - 12/18 ]
[ WBAL TV - Baltimore - 12/20 ]

[ The Washington Post - 12/19 ]
[ Baltimore Sun - 12/20 ]
[ Baltimore Sun - 12/21 ]
[ Washington Post letter by Richard Boltuck ]
[ The Washington Times - 12/20 ]

December 19, 2007


Written at the request of Senator Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County), the Attorney General released an opinion today that accepts the Maryland Democratic and Republican parties' argument that the state regulations of party primary elections must conform to internal party rules.The opinion could lead to restoration of voting rights for 17-year-olds in primaries who will be 18 before the general election.

Both parties have recently endorsed 17-year-old primary voting, putting pressure on the State Board of Elections to reverse itself and restore voting rights to young people.

The State Board of Elections is set to take up the issue Thursday at their scheduled meeting at 2:30 p.m. in Annapolis, where FairVote representative Adam Fogel will submit a letter from a coalition of Maryland organizations urging the State Board of Elections to accept the Attorney General's advisory opinion. Coalition members include FairVote, Casa de Maryland and the Maryland League of Women Voters.

"Attorney General Gansler's opinion corrects a serious mistake that was about to keep thousands of young people from voting on February 12th. I hope they not only reverse their policy, but do some damage control. Young people need to be notified that they're back on the rolls." said Mr. Fogel.

The confusion over the new voting rule has led to dismal voter registration among 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the time of the general election. According to Ross Goldstein, Deputy Administrator for the Board of Elections, only 3,600 of these young people have registered to vote.

FairVote will partner with the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals (MDASSP) to ensure students in high schools across the state have an opportunity to register to vote before the January 22nd voter registration deadline.

More at online at http://www.fairvote.org/md17
Or contact Adam Fogel at (301) 270-4616

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