Lawmaker Reintroduces Bill to Allow 17-Year-Olds to Vote in Primaries

SACRAMENTO-

Assemblymember Kevin Mullin has reintroduced a bill that would allow 17-year-old Californians to vote in primaries.

Without doubt – getting behind the wheel of a car is a teen dream.

But you have to practice with a permit first under the watchful eye of a seasoned driver, before you can tackle the road on your own.

Think of Mullin’s ACA 7 as a permit period for voting.

“It’s an ideal way to catch kids in those required civics classes and prepare them to vote in June.  And give them a say in who they’ll be seeing in their general election,” said Mullin from South San Francisco.

If passed by the legislature and voters , the constitutional amendment would apply to 17-year-olds who will turn 18 in the short few months between high school graduation and a general election.

Eighteen to 24-year-olds upped their voter turnout percentage from 18 to 19  in the last election.

Mullin, a democrat, says even more young people need to get to the polls and rejects claims that this whole effort is just about adding bodies to his party.

“Regardless of your political affiliation, you should want young people to be engaged in the political process,” he said.

Mullin’s measure is one of  706 on the books so far with a little over a week to go till the legislature’s bill filing deadline.

That may sound like an outrageous number to you, but that’s actually well below typical stats for this point in the process.

Mullin believes term limit changes have given lawmakers some much needed new perspective.

“I think this new class is taking a thoughtful approach and not just trying to get bills passed to ring up the scoreboard, if you will. More focus on substantive policy work,” he said.

With this effort, Mullin is trying to revive something his father tried while in office.

While the elder Mullin’s measure missed the required two-thirds support, democrats now control both houses at the capitol and the younger Mullin feels he can get this measure through.