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Newark City Council passes ordinance allowing some teenagers to vote in school board elections

Newark City Council votes to allow teens to vote in school board elections
Newark City Council votes to allow teens to vote in school board elections 00:45

NEWARK, N.J. -- Sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds in Newark are poised to vote in upcoming school board elections.

A vote was unanimously approved in Newark City Council on Wednesday after passionate pleas from students and residents.

"As a dedicated member of my Newark community and an advocate for quality education, I believe this move will ensure the voices of my peers, your students, are not only acknowledged but also valued in decisions that directly influence the education we receive in our future," high school junior Brianna Campbell said.

"I'm trying to understand how you pass an ordinance without passing-- civic education must go along with it," another person said.

Mayor Ras J. Baraka released the following statement:

"Allowing Newark students 16 and older the right to vote in school board elections that directly affect their school and educational experience, gives them a strong sense of their own agency and the power of their own voice. I fully support helping them establish civic responsibility at an early age and begin a lifetime habit of exercising this critical and powerful right.

"The continuation, and the strength, of America's democracy depends upon citizens understanding what it means to have a government of the people, by the people, for the people and it's never too early to involve our youth as essential stakeholders in this process."

If implemented, the ordinance would allow sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds to vote beginning this April.

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