With the 2016 presidential election growing closer and closer everyday, many Americans are becoming excited to exercise their rights. Those turning 18 before the general election may be missing important information; they are allowed to vote in the primaries and caucuses as 17-year-olds if they turn 18 before the voting day.
17-year-olds can vote in primaries and caucuses in large number of states, including Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Although that may seem like a large number of states, less than half allow 17-year-olds to participate in state primaries and caucuses.
Also, in Alaska, Kansa, North Dakota, and Washington, 17-year-old Democrats are able to participate in their party’s caucus, but Republicans may not.
Allowing 17-year-olds the right to participate in primaries and caucuses encourages them to engage in voting and form a habit of it at a younger age; which is vitally important due to the country’s extremely low voter turnout on Election Day. Political parties also benefit from this as well. If a teen votes for a certain party when they are young, their chances of voting for that party throughout their life is very high.
Opening up the primaries and caucuses to teens is opening up whole new door in politics as well. Candidates must strive to appeal to the younger voters now as well. In 2008, four million 17-year-olds were eligible to vote, but many young voters (18-29) do not turn out on Election Day because they are not prepared. Allowing 17-year-olds to participate early in the primaries and caucuses with increase their likelihood of voting each year after.
“I’m excited to be able to make a difference and voice my opinion in this election,” Hudson junior Anne Kennedy said.
To register to vote, one must visit the state online registry website. The form can be mailed in to the county’s board of elections, or physically taken into the office by Feb. 15 to participate in the Ohio primary election.
Mr. Moyer has registry forms in his room for student to encourage all of his students to exercise the right to vote.