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Will 17-Year-Olds in Pacifica Soon Vote in Primaries?

A local legislator wants to give young voters ownership in the process by allowing them to vote in primaries.

 

In a continuation of his father's efforts to expand voting access, California State Assemblymember Kevin Mullin has introduced ACA 7, a California Constitutional amendment to allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they will be 18 by the next general election. The bill is identical to legislation introduced by his father, Assemblymember Gene Mullin, that wasn’t able to meet the two-thirds voting requirement on the floor of the Assembly.

“The goal of this legislation is to increase voter participation,” said Assemblymember Mullin. “Most young people’s first contact with politics is in their mandatory high school civics class; this is the perfect time to get them engaged and give them some ownership in the process by getting them to vote in primaries.”

Nationally, there are 20 other states that allow 17-year-olds to either vote in their respective caucuses or primaries. Mullin's office says this practice resulted in a higher voter turnout among the 18-24 year-olds demographic in those states.

“This policy will increase youth engagement in the political process by creating an ethos of participation from a younger age,” said Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote. “Once a person votes, that person is likely to vote again.”

Assembly Kevin Mullin was elected in November 2012 to represent the 22nd Assembly District (Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Foster City, Hillsborough, Millbrae, Pacifica, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo and South San Francisco).

Do you think 17-year-olds should be allowed to either vote in their respective caucuses or primaries? Tell us in the comments.

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