Young Voter Registration Bill Dies, but the Fight's Not Over

Mar 6, 2012

As lawmakers face a pressing deadline for Washington’s legislative session, the budget remains their priority. Other issues have been pushed aside, like a bill supported by a group of politically charged young people.

“We would love to have a more representative democracy where young people’s voices are heard," says Abigail Doerr from the organization Washington Bus.

She says they worked with Representative Andy Billig from Spokane to push a young voter registration bill. The bill died last week, but both parties are not letting it go by the wayside.

Their bill would allow 16 and 17 year-olds to pre-register to vote, then once they turned 18, would become an active voters automatically.

“This is huge because 41 percent of all voter registrations come from the DMV," Doerr says. "Sixteen year-olds don’t go back to the DMV until they’re 21, so this would provide a gateway and an opportunity for young people to automatically be systematically included into the political process”.

Doerr says young people make up one of the smallest populations of voters. The Bus engages young people by offering fellowships and volunteer opportunities for 18 to 25 year-olds.

“The age population 18-29 is now larger than the 65 and older population," Doerr says. "This is pretty important because the people who are representing our views and values aren’t necessarily all reflective of our total population.”

A representative from Billig’s office says they will re-introduce the bill in the next legislative session.

HB 2205 - Young voter registration bill:

Washington Bus:

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