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The National Youth Rights Association is here in North Dakota!
Fact: Around 72 million Americans are under 18, including 25% of all North Dakotans!
26 August 2003; A PDF Version of the affadavit is now available! Also available: Word 2000, RTF, Text.
21 August 2003: NYRA-ND leaders are gettting ready for major exapnsion soon. Chapters in Grand Forks and Jamestown may be starting soon, and the Minot chapter iis being revitalized!
11 August 2003: NYRA-ND Financial Consultant Johnathan McClure has been elected to the national Board of Directors! Visit the national site for more details.
22 May 2003: Click here to download an affadavit of support for our efforts to let 16 and 17-year-olds vote. (MS Word File)
The full text of the measure is in the file, as well as an affadavit that should be signed in front of a notary (they're easier to find than you'd think!)
If you can't read the Word file, try the RTF or you can try a plain-text version. Please note that the notary form should be on a separate page from the instructions and the proposed amendment section.
National Voting Age Campaign Page
Why does a lower voting age make sense for North Dakota?
- Every little bit helps.
Young people are leaving North Dakota for many reasons, both social and economic. No single action is going to stop this flow, but every little bit helps. Lowering the voting age is just one of many things that we must do if youth are going to want to stick around in North Dakota.
- It brings new voices to politics.
Young people aren't being heard where it matters most. State legislators of both parties hem and haw over outmigration, but nothing is accomplished. They're almost out of ideas, and though they are still trying, the solution will be elusive without real input from young people. It's time to give youth a chance to make their opinions count when it comes to choosing their legislators.
- It builds trust and respect.
Youth aren't regarded highly by many adults; for many young people the feeling is mutual. By leveling the playing field-- by making their thoughts and opinions equal through a lower voting age, a giant step is taken toward mutual respect. Such a relationship is needed if young people and adults are to work together to solve the outmigration problem.
- It builds roots.
A sixteen-year-old that votes is a sixteen-year-old that knows the issues, the candidates, the arguments in the election race. Being able to vote, and take an active role in the ongoing political debates in their communities on all issues. People who get active in local politics build ties with the community that are hard to break. Encouraging an active political spirit in our young people will help keep them around.
- It builds good citizenship.
An active political spirit is indicative of a greater desire to contribute to the community, not just to stand up for how you think things should be run, but to try and build the community up in the best way one can. This could be any number of things. For example, NYRA President Cory Withers and many other people with him want to give back in the form of a youth community center. Entrepreneurial youth could build factories, shipping lines. The positive impact of such efforts are inestimable. The possibilities are limitless. But the desire to contribute must be there, and lowering the voting age is one way to do it.
Support a lower voting age. Young people have important things to say. The time that politicians see 16-year-olds but not hear them should come to a close. North Dakota can't afford to be closed to them much longer.
15 May 2003: NYRA's efforts to lower the voting age surged forward today, as 19 affadavits of support for our petition drive were handed out. Three have been completed and returned already. We'll keep you posted!
16 April 2003: What a ride it's been. Three state legislators and a couple local lawyers volunteered their support for NYRA's petition plans. We plan to pursue both progressive and conservative supporters in the weeks ahead. We hope to have our drive ready to go when Billy and Johnathan come back from Washington mid-June.
On the Youth Centre front: Cory and Chelsey have been working hard with local businesses to get support for their plan. With help from their future landlord, the Small Business Devlopment Centre, and Planet Pizza, their business plan is nearing completion and it looks like a loan will be applied for within a couple of months.
In national news, the Maine voting age efforts still needs your support. Visit the national sit for info.
This is going to be up for a while so you can see how we're going to do the petition:
14 November 2002: NYRA North Dakota is gathering bipartisan support for a petition to lower the voting age to 16. We are moving as quickly as possible and will keep you updated.
To give you an idea of the process- Here it is:
- We form an organizing committee to draft the language of the petition and submit it to the Secretary of State for review. This may take a little time as we need to contact some prominent politicians from both parties to see if they would give us their support. Having such people on the organizing committee would greatly improve the type of reception we would get in the political scene and in the public's eye.
- The Secretary of State approves the petition language and we begin a period of up to one year in which we can distribute the petitions. This poses a significant challenge that NYRA alone could not overcome, as both the signers and distributors of the petition must be 18. However, the organizing committee will certainly have their friends to help out, and NYRA members and supporters over 18 can too.
- We collect at least 25,688 signatures, and each distributor of the petition signs and notarizes an affadavit declaring that all the signatures on their petition pages were signed in their prescence. The petitions are then sent to the Secretary of State, who will verify either a random sampling or all of the signatures.
- If enough signatures are verified, the issue will be placed on the ballot for the next election. It will attract massive national interest from the moment the petition is approved. The following months will see a national debate on the topic of youth rights, and then, it's all up to the voters of North Dakota.
19 September 2002: Please excuse the update delay! NYRA North Dakota is still alive and kicking. Right now, Billy Luetzen is taking surveys at Magic City Campus about the 'O'riginal Bar situation so that Cory and Chelsey can show them to City Councilman Ron Boen at a lunch sometime in the near future. In a side note, it was not NYRA North Dakota that was responsible for eliminating age discrimination at a local mall as reported by themaneater.com (the online side of the newspaper at the University of Missouri - Columbia). That was NYRA Tennessee Valley, and you can check them out at their website, which is under our Links section.
06 September 2002: We've finished redesigning the NYRA site and we hope you enjoy it. We've put up the meeting minutes from August 8th as recorded by Chelsey.
Cory has set up some forums at his website with an area for NYRA. Check it out!
02 September 2002: NYRA-ND is going to be doing a lot this month! Starting tommorrow, we'll be distributing an anonymous survey at school to help us get ammunition for getting the dances at the "O"riginal Bar approved. Also, NYRA-ND has been in contact with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and we're going to go up against the school's web filter!
29 August 2002: The meeting tonight dealt with many issues, particularly the subject of the "O"riginal Bar and Nightclub's plan to have 16-plus dances. Also discussed were our plans for a youth community center and relations with city hall.
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