Advance Youth Voter Registration Fight Continues

What's Happening Now: Unfortunately, the General Assembly did not bring H 6215, advance voter registration for 16 and 17 year olds, up for a vote during last week's special session. Thanks to your calls, emails and conversations, we raised this bill's profile significantly. Bill sponsor, Rep. Pacheco, and other supporters lobbied tirelessly and persuasively for this bill, and we indeed came close. While we may not have won this round, with hard work we can pass this common-sense improvement early in the next session and avoid the late-veto trap.

The leadership has taken notice, and the bill's sponsors are ready to try again. Next year's session starts in two short months, which means we have that much time to increase the grassroots and legislative support for advance voter registration. Do you want to canvass, or spread the word about this bill in your school, student group, work, neighborhood or online social network? Just email [email protected].

More information will be posted as it develops, and again, thanks so much for your time, efforts and attention. In the meantime, we've produced a new policy briefing paper on Advance Registration in Rhode Island. [Download .pdf]


Archived Action Alert: Rhode Island is one step away from passing Youth Voter Pre-registration into law! H6215 would allow anyone to pre-register to vote when they turn 16 years old, and the registration would automatically become active when the youths became eligible to vote at age 18. Pre-registration doesn’t change the voting age; all it does is help young people get registered more effectively, and ultimately become lifelong voters. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Edwin Pacheco and handily passed 46-19 in the State House and 29-3 in the State Senate. Nevertheless, in June of this year, Governor Carcieri vetoed it.
Now, the legislature is planning on calling a special session to override some of Carcieri's vetoes, and we need your help to ensure youth voter pre-registration makes it into the agenda.

Please ask your state legislator to demand the leadership override the H6215 veto!
  • Find your RI Representative & Senator [HERE]
  • RI House of Representatives Email & Phone list [HERE]
  • RI House of Representives Postal list [HERE]
  • RI Senate Email & Phone list [HERE]
  • RI Senate Postal list [HERE]

Sample Call Script

(To follow some kind of find your legislator script)

-Hi, may I speak to Rep/Sen _____?

-My name is _____. I live in _____. Do you have a moment to talk?

-I’m calling about H6215, a bill that would let 16 year olds pre-register to vote. I want you to know that I support youth pre-registration because it would welcome young people into the civic process, helping our next generation become life-long voters and participants. Pre-registration could even make our voter rolls more accurate, by registering more people in structured environments like schools and the DMV. I’m proud that the General Assembly passed youth pre-registration, and I hope that you will make over-riding Governor Carcieri’s veto of HB 6215 a priority.

-Thank You!


Sample Message

-My name is _____. I live in _____. I’m calling about HB 6215, a bill that would let 16 year olds pre-register to vote. I want you to know that I support youth pre-registration because it would welcome young people into the civic process, helping our next generation become life-long voters and participants. Pre-registration could even make our voter rolls more accurate, by registering more people in structured environments like schools and the DMV. I’m proud that the General Assembly passed youth pre-registration, and I hope that you will make over-riding Governor Carcieri’s veto of HB 6215 a priority. Thank you!


Supporters of HB 6215 Include:
  • Clean Water Action RI
  • Association of Federal State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 94
  • Childhood Lead Action Project
  • Rhode Island Democracy for America (DFA)
  • The Family Life Center
  • Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE)
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 99
  • Ocean State Action
  • The Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM)
  • Rhode Island State Nurses Association (RISNA)
  • RI Public Interest Research Group (RIPIRG)
  • Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 615
  • Teamsters Union Local 251
  • United Food and Commercial (UFCW) Workers Local 328
  • Rhode Island United Service and Allied Workers (USAW)
  • Brown University Democracy Matters
  • National Education Association (NEA) RI
  • RI AFL-CIO
  • Brown University College Republicans
  • Youth In Action