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Amherst Can’t Lower Voting Age or Let Non-Citizens Vote Without State Legislature Say-So, Town Counsel Says

August 27, 2019

Allowing non-citizens and underage youths to vote in local elections in Amherst would require a change in Massachusetts state law, the town’s legal counsel said.

Lauren F. Goldberg wrote that the cities of Cambridge, Somerville, Lowell, and Northampton have all tried to lower the voting age for local elections from 18, as well as the towns of Harwich, Ashfield, Shelburne, and Wendell – but that none have succeeded to get a bill enabling it through the state Legislature.

For state elections, she opined, it would take an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution to lower the voting age or to allow non-citizens to vote, according to MassLive.com.

The Amherst Town Charter, dated September 25, 2017, calls for the town council and town manager to “investigate the feasibility” of “Permitting non-citizens to vote in Town elections and to seek and hold Town elective office; and … “Lowering the voting age for Town elections.”

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