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Legislation aims to recruit young voters

January 18, 2013 |  7:00 am

Voters college

A new proposal would allow California teenagers as young as 15 years old to sign up to eventually vote when they turn 18.

The legislation, SB 113, being pushed by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) is aimed at capturing young voters when they get their learner's permit or driver's license.

“Becoming a driver is an important rite of passage, and so is becoming a voter,” Jackson said in a statement. “When teenagers take the wheel to become a driver, we’re saying, let’s create an easy opportunity for them to also become a future voter.”

In addition to signing up at the DMV, teenagers could also preregister by mail or online. The bill would take effect next January.

Seven other states already allow teenagers to pre-register at 16 or 17, according to Jackson's office.

“Young people are more likely to become lifelong voters when they are engaged early, so offering the opportunity to preregister will be a powerful tool in getting them hooked on democracy," said Secretary of State Debra Bowen in a statement.


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-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento

Photo: Students at the University of California Davis line up to vote on campus in November. Credit: Autumn Payne / Sacramento Bee