Legislators consider plan to allow high schoolers to preregister to vote

Legislators heard today from supporters of a measure that would allow high school students to preregister to vote, so they’d be set to go to the polls for the next election after they turn 18.

Secretary of State Steve Simon supports the bill, saying it would help instill the good habit of voting early.

He cited a study  in Florida and Hawaii that showed  “preregistration increases young voter turnout…[with estimates] similar for Republicans and Democrats, whites and minorities, and men and women.”

Twenty-two states allow some form of preregistration for students, he said.

The bipartisan Minnesota proposal would allow anyone over 16 to register, although they wouldn’t be able to vote until they turn 18.

Other groups supporting the plan include Voices for Racial Justice, Common Cause, Jewish Community Action, League of Women Voters, American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, MPIRG, Minnesota AFL-CIO and Open Access Connections.

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