On Tuesday, Baltimore City voters passed, by an overwhelming 3-1 margin, legislation that lowered the age of eligibility for local office from 21 to 18. This effort, spearheaded by a group known as IMPAC and sponsored by Councilman Robert Curran, now affords Baltimore City 18, 19 and 20 year olds the same benefit offered to others in surrounding Maryland jurisdictions.
Opponents of the measure contended that these young adults lack the life experience and maturity to adequately participate in a notoriously nasty profession. Of course, these same young people can readily volunteer for the front lines in an overseas conflict. Likewise, they can exercise the right to vote. Thus, if they can participate in the process, why not allow them to go a step further by granting them the ability to run themselves?
Besides, it’s not as if desire to hold elected office means one will get that opportunity. In reality, most people never realize this dream. After all, the electorate ultimately decides who gets these covets spots. In turn, that requires thousands of votes. In other words, let the voters determine one’s readiness for office.
All in all, this gives young people an ever greater incentive to get involved in the political process. Often, these folks nonchalantly allow others to make decisions that could have a great impact on their life. If anything, this new law expands the pool of candidates and lessens the possibility that an incumbent can have a free pass back into office.