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Secretary of State Steve Simon Urges Legislature to Pass Pre-Registration for High School Students

February 26, 2015

"This is about getting good habits started early for young Minnesotans."

SAINT PAUL — Today, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon urged lawmakers at a press conference to pass legislation that would allow high school-aged students to pre-register to vote in Minnesota. Currently, 22 states allow some form of pre-registration for high school-aged students.

Following the press conference, pre-registration bills were set to be heard in the House Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee (HF391) and the Senate Rules and Administration – Subcommittee on Elections (SF206).

“This is about getting good habits started early for young Minnesotans,” said Secretary of State Steve Simon. “Minnesota is a state that takes its civic duty very seriously and this is an opportunity to further instill those values in the next generation of Minnesotans, and I urge the legislature to pass this bill.”

Simon was joined at the Capitol press conference by Sen. Jim Carlson, one of the bipartisan authors of the bill, as well as high school students, and representatives from Voices for Racial Justice, Common Cause, Jewish Community Action, League of Women Voters, American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, MPIRG, Minnesota AFL-CIO and Open Access Connections.

“Voter pre-registration is important to me because it gives people my age a chance to engage in democracy and be active members in their own communities,” said Lujain Al-Khawi, a student from Blaine High School, at the press conference.

A 2014 report studying pre-registration in Hawaii and Florida concluded that “preregistration increases young voter turnout. These findings are robust to the data source, causal approach, and model specification considered. Moreover, the estimates of preregistration’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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