By: Tom Duggan – May 18, 2015
North Andover voters rejected a measure at Annual Town Meeting Tuesday night, that would have allowed 16 and 17 year-olds the right to vote in local elections, at Town Meeting, and even run for local office.
Had the Warrant Article passed at Town Meeting, the question would have gone before the voters on the next town ballot, due to an amendment submitted by Dr. Frank MacMillan. Those supporting the change in voting age, including Town Moderator Mark DiSalvo, also voted against putting the question before the voters on the next town ballot,.
The final vote on changing the voting age in North Andover was 30 in favor, and 170 against.
The Town Warrant Article was submitted by Celia DiSalvo, who is 18 years old and a graduate of North Andover High School. Because Celia DiSalvo is the daughter of Town Moderator Mark DiSalvo, he recused himself from moderating that portion of Town Meeting, and sat in the audience during the discussion.
“The Idea came from the three of us,” Celia DiSalvo said said after Town Meeting, pointing to Adam Magletta and Joy Duboff. As I am the only one who is an actual voter, I was the one who had to put it on the Town Warrant. I’m 18 years-old so, technically, I was the petitioner, but the idea came fro all of us.”
Celia says she voted in the town election this year and voted tonight at Annual Town Meeting tonight for the first time.
Adam Magletta says that he and his friends were motivated to put the Warrant Article before Town Meeting because of the low turnout in the last town election.
“As Far as the impetus of this, I think we were all alarmed by the voter participation rate in the last election, which presented important choices between candidates and issues that seemingly nobody cared about,” Magletta said.
“We were all really concerned by that. So obviously we are disappointed but this isn’t the last bit of activism we are going to be involved with.”
“All three of us have been involved in politics for a while through volunteering on campaigns,” DiSalvo agreed. “We believe we are knowledgeable enough to express our vote. This is something critical, and it’s tangible, contributing to a ballot [measure], and to have a voice in the political process.”
“It’s obviously disappointing,” Joy Duboff said of the 170-30 defeat of the measure.
“We did better than we expected and it was a success of it’s own, though, to see people who, although they opposed us they showed passion and motivation to do so, that brought more attention to the matter. I think more people got informed because of this. So even though this didn’t get approved it was a success in that [way].”
DiSalvo said that she and her friends were not giving up. “We will be back next year, I will be in college but I will come back to help these two.”
With only 200 voters attending Annual Town Meeting the town budget passed and a warrant article mandating broadcasting all town board meetings including the Finance Committee.