Bill would allow 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote in Washington

Jan 12, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington 16 and 17-year-olds could preregister to vote while getting their first driver’s license under a bill in Olympia. That idea got a hearing Thursday. But those teens still won’t be able to vote until they turn 18.

Supporters of the bill say it would increase voter participation among young people. University of Washington student, Lucas Barash-David, testified in favor of the plan.

“I know, for myself and many of my friends, got our driver’s licenses at 16 and I’m only 18, I’m probably not going to go back until I’m 21. And I would have jumped on the opportunity to register to vote,” Barash-David said.

The bill would allow kids as young as 16 to preregister to vote, even without getting a driver’s license. The District of Columbia and eight other states in the nation, including Oregon, already have similar laws.

But representatives from the Washington state auditor and the Secretary of State testified against the bill. They say that the plan would cost too much money and that it’s too difficult to track kids when they move to an out-of-state college.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network