FairVote advocates that states and political parties act to allow citizens who will be 18 years old on or before the general election to vote in their party’s corresponding primary or caucus. A notable portion of citizens who have the right to vote in the general election in November currently do not have a voice in determining who will be on that general election ballot. Granting voting rights in primaries and caucuses to these 17-year-olds is only fair and will increase their political engagement through participation. Policymakers can implement this reform by state law or party rule.
17-year-olds can vote in Congressional and/or Presidential primaries and caucuses in a large number of states, including Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Seventeen-year-olds may also vote in District of Columbia primaries. Check the maps for Congressional and Presidential primaries and caucuses available on this page to confirm which races 17-year-olds in your state can vote in. Most states adopting this policy have done so by state law, but others have by changing state party rules. Parties may request allowing 17-year-old primary voting by asserting their First Amendment freedom of association rights.
17-year-old primary and caucus voting does not require state legislative action:
Primary voting rights for 17-year-olds is legal and does not change the voting age:
Voting when young forms a lifetime habit:
These states allow 17-year-olds to vote in a Congressional primary election if they will be 18 by the date of the general election. For information on 16- and 17-year-old preregistration, click on this link.
This information was last updated in January of 2016.
These state parties allow 17-year-olds to vote in their presidential primary elections or caucuses if they will be 18 by the date of the general election. For information on 16- and 17-year-old preregistration, click on this link.
This information was last updated in April of 2016.