SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The California Senate approved a bill Wednesday that would lower the voting pre-registration age in California to 16. The bill (SB113) was approved 24-8 and now goes to the State Assembly.
The bill would not lower the actual voting age of 18, but would allow teens as young as 16 to sign up and be ready to vote when they reach that age two years later. State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson from Santa Barbara introduced the bill.
Sen. Jacskon said lowering the age to the time when teens typically get a driver's license or permit would make it easier for them to register and become lifelong voters.
In California, almost one-quarter of those eligible to voter are not registered. Only half of younger Californians old enough to vote are registered.
Sen. Jackson said a study of similar laws in Florida and Hawaii demonstrates that pre-registration encourages young people to vote once they are eligible and makes it more likely they will become lifelong voters.
Republican Sen. Joel Anderson of Alpine says the legislation could create headaches for local election officials who would have to track teen registration records and lead to disappoint if teenagers change addresses and don't realize they must re-register.
CORRRECTION: A prior version of this story said the pre-registration age was 15. The correct age would be 16.