Newark youth vote in school board elections delayed to 2025. Advocates look to get teens ready for next year

Last month, the Newark City Council became the first in the state to lower the voting age to 16 in school board elections. But, the implementation will be delayed until the 2025 election due to voter registration issues, according to city officials.

Supporters and advocates of the lower voting age, which the city council instituted last month, are seeing the delay as an advantage — not a setback — in their efforts to use the expanded voting rights as a way to improve dismal voter turnout in the April school board races.

With the extra year, advocates aim to ensure as many young people as possible are “ready, educated, and empowered” to vote, they said in interviews this week.

“I think that it’s an excellent time for youth to be able to start to test the waters on what it means to fully grasp civic engagement and the power of being civically engaged,” said Shennell McCloud, chief executive officer of Project Ready, an advocacy nonprofit in Newark.

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