Posted on January 21, 2008Youth Voter Pre-registration been reintroduced into the Rhode Island general assembly with more support than ever. Last week, Rep Edwin Pacheco introduced H 7106, which was co-signed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Lally, Republican Rep. John Savage, Rep. Amy Rice, Rep. Roger Picard, Rep Handy and Majority Leader Gordon Fox.
“Allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote would increase the likelihood that they will vote when they turn 18 and the statistics show it. In the 2004 election, 81 percent of registered voters between the ages of 18 and 24 voted. But only 58 percent of eligible voters that age were registered, compared to 72 percent of all groups. The problem isn’t getting young people to participate in elections, it’s getting them registered beforehand,” Rep. Pacheco said.
State Senator Rhoda Perry has also introduced a Senate companion bill, S 2081, co-signed by Senators Daniel Connors, James Doyle, Susan Sosnowski and Charles Levesque.
The bills would allow 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register to vote, and could catalyze increased participation and engagement in Rhode Island’s democracy, increase opportunities for meaningful voter education, systematize the registration process through and more effective high school and motor voter registration, and help close the registration gap. You can find more details in FairVote RI’s policy briefing on advance voter registration in RI.
FairVote RI is building on the high level of support for youth voter pre-registration in 2007. Right now, we are reaching out to allies and young people. Getting involved is as simple as writing a quick email.