State Could Begin Pre-Registering Teens to Vote

Washington lawmakers are proposing to pre-register 16- and 17-year-old citizens, automatically qualifying them to vote in the first election following their 18th birthday. Dan Frizzell from  the Washington State House Democratic Caucus has more.

Pre-registration of teens within two years of voting age is current practice in some of the bluest and reddest states in the country, and it’ll happen here if state Representative Steve Bergquist can finally see his idea become law. It passed the House five times in the last five years with bipartisan majorities, but that’s how many times the Republican leaders of the Senate refused to allow that chamber to vote on the bill. Now that they’ve fallen into the minority, chances look good at last.  Here’s Bergquist.

BERGQUIST: “We’ve found that the earlier people register to vote, there’s a much higher likelihood that people will become regular voters. Registering 16- and 17-year-olds to vote gives them the opportunity to start from day one voting as soon as they turn 18, and that should make them lifetime voters.  That’s the ultimate goal.”

Bergquist, a Democrat from Renton, stresses that his pre-registration bill doesn’t change or weaken voting requirements.  After yet another victory in the House, his bill heads for the Senate, where new leadership has indicated a vote is likely.

In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.

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