Amid some disappointing vetoes, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a voter registration bill that allows 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote. Last year, a similar bill that would have extended pre-registration opportunities for 16-year-olds died in the Senate Appropriations Committee. With his signature, California becomes the 8th state to allow 16 or 17-year-old voter pre-registration. Earlier this year, North Carolina became the third state (after Hawaii and Florida) to set a uniform pre-registration age of 16-years-old.
2009 has been a banner year for the FairVote-backed reform, with more than a half a dozen states plus the District of Columbia introducing youth pre-registration legislation. The Washington, D.C. City Council unanimously passed a first reading of a bill containing language that includes 16-year-old voter pre-registration, with Massachusetts and Rhode Island also in play before the end of the year.