By Sybil Mimy Johnson, Executive Director
Election reformers have devised an idea to encourage more young people to vote — one that just might make life easier for election administrators.
The idea is to allow 16-year-olds to “preregister” to vote. The teens would automatically be able to participate in elections once they hit the federal voting age of 18. As it stands now, states have a wide variety of rules: Some let 17-year-olds preregister and some let anyone who will be 18 by the next general election register. But until recently, only Hawaii allowed 16-year-olds to sign up.
That’s starting to change. Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., all have approved laws allowing 16-year-olds to preregister in recent years. Florida’s move was especially notable because it took place in a state with a Republican Legislature and a then-Republican governor. Young voters tend to favor Democrats.
BGC Bellport has a new effort under way to encourage young adults to start voting and keep voting.
We are now using social media to conduct debate watch parties to engage our teens. We are using this method to also encourage our 18 year old teens to vote.
Due to the shift that comes with technological advances, it is easier for states to keep preregistrants separate from the regular voter pool.