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On Democracy Day, Secretary Simon says pre-registration key to engaging young Minnesotans

March 23, 2015

Democracy Day celebrates the day (March 23, 1971) Congress adopted the 26th amendment that granted 18-year-olds the right to vote.

SAINT PAUL — Today, in honor of Democracy Day, Secretary of State Steve Simon is highlighting a bill in the Minnesota legislature that would increase civic participation among young people by allowing high school-aged students the ability to pre-register to vote. Democracy Day celebrates the day (March 23, 1971) Congress adopted the 26th amendment that granted 18-year-olds the right to vote.

A bill in the Minnesota legislature would allow 16 and 17-year-olds in Minnesota to pre-register to vote so when they turn 18 they are automatically registered.

Currently, 22 states allow some form of pre-registration for high school-aged students.

“Democracy Day is a reminder that we have a great opportunity in Minnesota to help young people get good habits started early,” said Secretary of State Steve Simon. “I urge the Minnesota legislature to pass pre-registration for high school-aged students in Minnesota. We owe it to the next generation of Minnesotans to give them every opportunity to get engaged and involved in their communities.”

Last month, the Star Tribune noted that in the last election “only 18 percent of eligible Minnesota 18- to 24-year-olds voted” and endorsed pre-registration for high school-aged students in Minnesota.

A 2014 report studying pre-registration in Hawaii and Florida concluded that “pre-registration increases young voter turnout. … Moreover, the estimates of pre-registration’s effectiveness are widespread, similar for Republicans and Democrats, whites and minorities, and men and women.” The study concluded that pre-registration laws can increase voter turnout anywhere from 8 to 13 percent.

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Contact: Ryan Furlong, (651) 297-8919, ryan.furlong@state.mn.us

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