Posted by Paul Fidalgo on June 26, 2007Chances are you never even heard about it, but the Rhode Island state legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Edwin R. Pacheco that allows 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, making them automatically eligible once they turn 18. The bill was passed without fanfare at the last minute before the legislative session ended, but pass it did, and now it is up to Governor Donald Carcieri to sign it into law.
But we have been down this road once before. This time last year, Gov. Carcieri was given the chance to sign this very bill when it passed the legislature, but he instead opted to exercise his veto. Fortunately, the state legislature has found the wisdom to offer the bill a second time, and now everyone is watching.
This bill, if enacted, will prevent a lot of bureaucratic headaches by spreading new registrations out over time, rather than dealing with a glut of new voters' registrations immediately before a deadline. Most importantly, however, it will be a message to the young people of Rhode Island from their government that it understands that the policies of the state directly effect their lives, and that it welcomes their voices in how those decisions are made.
There"s no time to lose! This bill will likely be decided upon by the end of the week, and is in danger of being vetoed at any moment now. Click over to the Rhode Island"s Future blog to see how you can send a message to Gov. Carcieri. Tell him how much it means to you and the young people of Rhode Island. Tell him how much it will ease the burden on government officials in processing registrations. Tell him states like Florida are already moving ahead with advance registration. Tell him you think it"s the right thing to do.