Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Primary Day Update

Posted by bsflag2007 on Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Thanks in no small part to Allen Dyer (candidate for HoCo Board of Education) for securing the voting rights of our newest voters!

When all of us who will be entitled to vote in the November 2008 General Election go to the polls today to cast our votes for the candidates we hope to see on the final ballot — those new voters who will be 18 in November WILL be “allowed” to vote (and their votes WILL be counted) for the nonpartisan races.

This order was issued a week or so ago – then appealed by the State Attorney General’s Office. The appeal was heard Friday morning. I believe the new order was issued Friday evening.

Mr. Dyer, on behalf of my 17 year old daughter and I, was in constant conact with the AG’s Office, the state and local Board of Elections folks, our local Delegation, and another lawyer (Mr. Clifford Snyder, Jr.) who was also pursuing voting rights for rising 18 year olds on behalf of his son Carl Snyder – and had secured the original order to allow registered 17 year olds to vote in the non-partisan primaries. Thursday afternoon Mr. Dyer filed our request with the Appeals Court to support Mr. Snyder’s case and dismiss the AG’s case.

I never could understand why the AG’s Office was pursuing this line of reasoning. It was obviously not simply a legal question as the courts had already ruled, and the AG’s argument was rather weak. We informally lobbied the Governor’s Office, and as many Elected and Election Officials we could think of.

We seldom really know what effect our calls, letters, emails, etc have. But at the hearing on Friday the Judges asked the AG’s lawyer if the AG “cared” how the case was decided… and she answered “no”.

Cant be sure… but we like to think our efforts led to someone in charge telling the AG’s office to “give it up”. It was an odd fight to take on anyway. Is the State of Maryland in the business of encouraging citizens to exercise their right to vote?

That’s the question we asked the Governor’s Office. As of today – that answer is YES.

Thank you Allen Dyer,

Cindy Vaillancourt

*** in my original post I mis-identified the name of the lawyer who filed the original  complaint and successfully argued the case as Carl Snyder.  I have made the correction.  Kudos and apologies to Mr. Clifford Snyder, Jr. and his son Carl Snyder.


7 Responses to “Primary Day Update”

  1. pzguru said

    Although I applaud people (legal citizens anyway) exercizing their right to vote, I have some trepidation about this, for two reasons. First – is this being done out of a true concern to help young persons vote out civic concern (for the people as a whole), or is it because certain politicos think that the young vote will fall their way come election day (help their candidate – which does not necessarily equate to helping the greater good)? Second, I have serious concerns about many (not all) people that are not yet 18 and whether they really should be voting. Many people in that age range, and even many that are over 18, are extremely immature, irresponsible, and have behavioral problems and some could argue that they don’t deserve to vote until the day they turn 18, and even then it’s questionable. Look at it this way. The legal drinking age is 21 years. The voting age is 18 years. So we don’t trust young people to drink, but we entrust in them the greatest responsibility ever – the ability to determine who runs our country. Seems a little backward to me. I know there are many young people who ARE responsible, and mature, and extremely intelligent, but the ones that are not is what concerns me.

  2. cynthia vaillancourt said

    I think that is a better argument for changing the drinking age — but I can assure you in this case the interest in taking this action was wholly in the interest of insuring a fair application of voting laws to all voters regardless of party affiliation or who they may be likely to vote for.

    If only people who were 18 on the day of the general election were allowed to vote only in the general election …. I would have not been concerned – though I do understand the argument that when primaries are used to determine who wil be on the ballot — it makes sense that those who are allowed to vote in that election should have a voice.

    The previous plan from the AG’s office to limit voters to those affiliated with the two major political parties ONLY was Very offensive to me as a person who would prefer to see the two party system revised — not strengthened by the government action.

    Cindy V.

    as for immaturity…. well, the most immature of the 17 year olds are not the ones who planned in advance and registered (which was not as easy as you might think) – and are not as likely to bother as those we would like to see taking on this responsibility…. and of course there are a lot of folks i’d like to kick out of the voting line —- particularly the pne’s who proudly announce to interviewers that they have no idea who to vote for… they’ll ust guess when thay get there.

  3. pzguru said

    I agree – if only the two major parties could have 17 year old voters, that would not be fair. I hadn’t even that that was part of the issue – the media never mentioned that as far as I can recall.

    I also agree on you last point – that the immature ones probably wouldn’t or didn’t take the time to even register.

    You also hit on the idea of changing the drinking age (back to 18) which I support wholeheartedly. Probably wasn’t clear on that – I certainly didn’t mean to change the voting age to 21.

    Ultimately, I wish this whole “2 party” affiliation stuff would be ended. If all candidates only had their name on a ballot, it would force people to look at policy positions and credentials, instead of just whether there is an “R” or a “D” at the end of the name. It would also help “I”‘s and third party candidates have a better chance at winning since people could no longer just overlook the “I”‘s because they are “I”‘s.

    Kudos to your daughter for being active in the process.

  4. cynthia vaillancourt said

    Maybe our next effort should be for making Maryland primaries “open”. My husband and I are both registered as independent… in no small part because we got sooo sick of receiving campaign mail. Of course, the main reason is because we do not wish to be officially affiliated with anyone. I do not believe the government ought to be using its power and reach to endorse the party system – especially in its current incarnation. I think as more and more people come to understand that our tax dollars are currently supporting what is primarily (no pun intended) a “private club” exercise – the “closed” primary will be eliminated.

    cindy v

  5. General Zod said


    Age is just a number, perhaps you should give our younger citizens a little more credit.

  6. Carl Snyder said

    Just FYI, my dad’s name (the lawyer who helped secure my voting rights) is Clifford Snyder, Jr. The seventeen-year-old whose voting rights were at issue (me) is Carl Snyder.

  7. cynthia vaillancourt said

    Congratulations on your win. I am SO sorry I wrote your dad’s name wrong in my original post. Your Dad did a great job. I don’t know if any of our efforts or our filing with the court made much difference – but we are very grateful for your success.
    Cindy Vaillancourt

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