New Law Aims to Get Youth Voting
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. A new law allows 16 and 17-year-old Coloradans to preregister to vote, making it as easy as getting it done at the same time they get their driver's license. Colorado is joining states like Florida and Hawaii with the new law, in hopes to get more youth involved with the democratic process. Before the bill was passed, 17-year-olds were allowed to preregister, however right now in Mesa County only eight currently are. The hope is now, more young people will take advantage of the opportunity to preregister. The teens who preregister can't vote until they're 18, however it does place them on voter rolls. Signing up early also allows political parties to start reaching out to teens early on. Officials with the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder's Office believe it is good to get youth involved in the voting process, but speculate the new law could mean more data entry. "If the 16-year-olds are staying at home between the time they're 16 and 18, and their address stays the same, then it's no extra work at all. But if they are moving and that happens to be when they are starting to attend college and that kind of stuff, it may mean a little bit of data entry for us," said Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner. Officials with Kids Voting Mesa County already reach out to high school students to get them involved in the voting process. They say they're pleased that the new law is moving forward. Executive director for Kids Voting Mesa County, said, "High school students are so close to being able to make decisions that will affect themselves and their communities, large and small. So I think it's really important we try and reach out to engage these students, to help them understand how these, what seem to be adult issues, really affect them." While anyone age 16 to 18 can preregister to vote starting Wednesday, it won't go into affect until Jan. 1, 2014.