Watch “Prop 18 in a Minute: Voting at Age 17” to understand what a yes or no vote on this proposition means. Click the CC button for Spanish subtitles.
A constitutional amendment would allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 at the time of the next general election to vote in primaries and special elections.
Democratic legislators have long been pushing for this change as part of a general drive to increase access to voting.
Supports allowing 17-year-olds who will be 18 at the time of the next general election to vote in primary elections and special elections.
Maintains the minimum age for voting at 18 years old.
Although the federal voting age is 18, a third of the states allow those who are 17 but will be 18 by the general election to vote in primaries, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.
The rationale is to allow those who turn 18 in time to vote in the general election to become engaged earlier in the candidate selection, making them more informed citizens and more likely to turn out to vote in November. The Legislature placed the constitutional amendment on the ballot in a bipartisan vote. Sponsoring Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, a South San Francisco Democrat, said the change would give the affected young voters “skin in the game.”
The Election Integrity Project California, a nonpartisan organization, argued against the amendment, saying that “17-year-olds are legal minors. Under that definition, they are still considered children. They are almost all still living at home and under the strong influence of their parents. This is not conducive to independent thought and voting without undue pressure from their immediate superiors… 17-year-olds will almost always still be in high school, and under the strong influence of their teachers. This again makes it less likely that they would be expressing their own, independently thought-out choices were they to be allowed to vote.”
Get Ready to Vote
Nov. 3 may feel far away now, but don’t forget to take the necessary steps to make sure you get to cast your vote! Here are some key details to remember:
- Register to vote online by or have your mail-in registration postmarked by Oct. 19. If you somehow miss the deadline, all is not lost. You can still conditionally register up to Election Day itself. Not sure what your registration status is? Find out here.
- Because of COVID-19, California is mailing all active registered voters mail-in ballots this year, so you don’t need to request one.
- Mailed ballots should be postmarked on or before Nov. 3 and received by your county’s elections office no later than Nov. 20. Scared your ballot is going to get lost in the mail? Don’t fret, the California Secretary of State has a ballot tracking tool so you can get notified of the status of your vote-by-mail ballot via email, text or call. Sign up here.
- If you want to deliver your ballot in person on Election day, make sure you do so by the time the polls close on Nov. 3.