Bill Would Allow Some 17 Year Olds to Vote

A bill introduced in the upcoming legislature would allow 17 year olds to vote, under certain circumstances, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports

.State Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) would allow people who are under the age of 18 to vote in the Texas primary, if they will be 18 in time for the general election.

"Also, it has been demonstrated, that the sooner people get involved in engaged in voting, the more likely they are to continue that practice," she said.

Bills like Howard's are being seen more and more due to several factors.  In increasingly partisan gerrymandered political districts, frequently the eventual winner of an election is actually decided in the primary, because the party that is gerrymandered out has essentially no chance of winning a general election. 

 Also, in Presidential years, a desire to play a larger role in the decision has prompted many states, including Texas, to move its primary earlier and earlier in the year.  In Texas, for example, it is eight months between the March primary and the November election.

And Howard says it is important to make sure that young people are as engaged as possible in the political process.

"And without access to that primary ballot, you are voting for candidates who you were not able to help select," she said.

This is not new.  Several states already allow 17 year olds who will turn 18 by Election Day to vote in primaries.

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