AB 30 Signed by Governor – Lowers Voter Registration Age to 17
AB 30 was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on October 30, 2009. This bill, which lowers the voter registration age to 17, is intended to accomplish several goals:
- To provide uniformity and consistency in election administration. Under previous law, some 17 year olds were able preregister to vote (those who would turn 18 before the next election), while others could not. This inconsistent treatment led to confusion and ineffective implementation of voter registration laws.
- To increase voter registration and voter turnout of young people. Research shows that people who get involved in the electoral process at an early age are much more likely to become lifelong voters. A recent study by The Pew Charitable Trusts has also shown that a preregistration law in Florida has led to higher rates of both youth voter registration and turnout.
- To increase civic engagement among young people. Preregistration can be combined with “voters ed” in high schools, peer to peer outreach, civics days featuring visits from local elected leaders, working at the polls and other vehicles of engagement designed to boost youth involvement.
Almost half of California’s eligible voters in the18-24 age bracket are not registered to vote. Lowering the voter registration age to 17 will hopefully involve high school students in the democratic process at a critical point in their lives, and encourage high schools to become more actively engaged in civic education.