Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Interesting voting age law question

From the bsement of the Capitol. . . .I am working on SB 227 to allow 16 year olds who get their drivers license the ability to register to vote at the Secretary of State's office. Young people have the lowest rate of voting and registration and one reason (however small is that they do not get registered when they get ther license as adults do. So here is the puzzle: how do you register someone to vote when they are not eligible because they are too young? We came up with 'pre-registration' but ideally they would just register. At comittee today I heard there might be a federal law requiring registrants to affirm they are 18 when they register. If anyone has any ideas on how to get more young people registered - especially when they are already giving their data to the government - please post.


IlliniPundit said...

How about when they register for (gasp!) Selective Service? (Do women register for Selective Service?)

ChicagoJason said...

I grew up in Wisconsin, so things might work differently here--I don't know. But I think I had to renew my license at the age of 18, and if so, that'd be the time to register someone.

earnest said...

If it's true that registrants need to swear they are 18 at the moment of registration, you might not want to bring that to light, because under current Illinois law, 17 year olds can register if they'll be 18 by election day. It would be a shame for the outcome of your efforts to be a rollback of one existing way that young folks can register.

By the way, I recommend that instead of pre-registering them, which is problematic because loads of them would move in the ensuing 2-3 years before they could first vote, you should just have the Secretary of State mail a pre-printed voter registration form to every single 18 year old on their birthday.

There should be approximately 150,000 18 year olds in a given year, but many of them don't have a license before their 18th birthday anyway, so we're probably talking something closer to 100,000. That means the whole program with mailing could be done for less than $100,000 a year, since you can certainly print and mail a form for less than $1.

FightforJustice said...

Young womyn don't register with Selective Service.

In IL, young drivers don't renew their licenses until they turn 21.

Getting more 18-21 year olds registered won't get most of them voting. Esp. not in the local and state elections.