Oregon could become be the first state in the nation to lower its voting age to 16 under a bill introduced today at the Legislative Assembly in Salem.
Senate Joint Resolution 22 (SJR0022) proposes an amendment to the Oregon Constitution lowering the voting age from 18 to 16 years old.
Oregon voters will decide whether or not to lower the voting age during the next general election in 2020.
The resolution is sponsored by Sen. Shemia Fagan and Reps. Janelle Bynum, Diego Hernandez; and backed by Reps. Teresa Alonso Leon,
Alissa Keny-Guyer, Barbara Smith Warner, Anna Williams and Jennifer Williamson.
Other states have tried to lower the voting age from 18 to 16, but none have passed.
Oregon and 13 other states (California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington) and the District of Columbia permit preregistration at 16 years old. Preregistered citizens can then vote when they turn 18.
According the National Conference of State Legislatures:
- Four states permit preregistration beginning at 17 years old:
- Maine, Nevada, New Jersey and West Virginia.
- Five states set another age at which an individual may preregister:
- Alaska permits those under 18 to register anytime within 90 days before their 18th birthday.
- Georgia, Iowa and Missouri permit registration of those who are 17.5 (if they turn 18 before the next election).
- Texas permits a person who is 17 years and 10 months of age to register.
- Twenty-six states do not specifically address an age for registration and instead allow an individual to register if they will turn 18 by the next election (note that this usually refers to the next general election, with some exceptions). In some states this may mean that youth could register as soon as the previous general election is over, so that could be as early as 16 years of age. Reach out to your state election officials for details.
- Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
- North Dakota does not require individuals to register prior to the election, but to qualify as an elector an individual must be eighteen years or older on Election Day.