New Bill Aims to Increase Voter Turnout Among Young People

Friday, 23 Mar 2012 11:39 AM

By Michelle Lopata

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Allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote will help increase voter turnout and engagement among young people, according to Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Jamie Eldridge, writing in a column for The Milford Daily News, a local Massachusetts paper.

Eldridge sponsored An Act to Modernize Voter Registration, a bill that would update the voter registration process making it easier for more people to register to vote, including those as young as 16.

Pre-registration “would allow young adults who will be eighteen by Election Day to register as early as age seventeen,” wrote Eldridge.

“Doing so would encourage civic participation among our youth and help students prepare for Election Day by making sure they’re registered before Election Day and before some of them head off to college.”

In his column, the senator wrote that technology has become an integral part of many Americans’ lives and has already made many other state services easier, such as renewing drivers’ licenses. Eldridge believes that registering to vote should follow suit.

“Registering to vote should be just as easy, and technology allows us to do so while maintaining security, saving money, and increasing availability,” said Eldridge.

There are currently services, like TurboVote.org, that allow users to sign up for a vote-from-home application that is sent directly to their house in a pre-paid envelope. All users need to do is then fill it out and send it back. When an election comes up, the local election board will send TurboVote users their ballot. The service even sends users text and email reminders so they never miss another election.

“I’m proud to have sponsored An Act to Modernize Voter Registration, which would make it easier for eligible citizens to register to vote and ensure the accuracy of our voter lists by allowing citizens to register to vote online, ensuring that our voting lists stay up to date when voters move, allowing 16- and 17-year-old citizens to pre-register to vote, and allowing eligible citizens to register and vote on Election Day.”


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