On June 13, the Rhode Island House passed HB 8022 which would lower the voter registration age to 16. FairVote advocates universal voter registration, and sees this change as helpful for efforts to register all young adults as they become eligible to vote. FairVote's John Anderson and Rob Richie joined state legislators and a leading Secretary of State candidate in April in support of the measure.
UPDATE: Governor Carcieri vetoed the bill on July 12th citing concerns that adding 16-year-olds was not compatable with the HAVA-mandated statewide registration list. However, Hawaii has no difficulty registering 16-year-olds and complying with HAVA. Rhode Island should look carefully at Hawaii's system if Rep. Pacheco reintroduces this bill next session.
[ Text of Bill HB 8022 [pdf] ]
[ Guillaume De Ramel testimony on the Bill ]
[ FairVote's 100% Registration Project ]
[ Read John Anderson and Ray Martinez' New York Times op-ed ]