Prop 18: Voting Rights for 17-Year-Olds
Should 17-year-olds who will be 18 by a general election be allowed to vote in the primary and special elections in that election cycle?
In even-numbered years, California holds two statewide elections—the primary and the general election. In the primary election, voters determine which candidates will compete in the general election. In the general election, voters determine which candidates will win elective office. Statewide ballot measures may also be considered at both of these elections. In addition, there are special elections to fill vacancies, and local government elections to elect local office holders and consider local ballot measures.
In California, in order to vote, an individual must be at least 18 years old at the time of an election. A person may pre-register to vote at 16 years of age, and then they are automatically a registered voter when they turn 18 years old.
Prop 18 would allow certain 17-year-old citizens to vote. If a person is 17 years old and will be 18 years old by the next general election, they will be able to vote in the primary election and any special elections which occur prior to the next general election.
Any registered voter may run for elective office, so such 17-year-olds could run for elective office if they meet all other existing eligibility requirements for such elective office.
Prop 18 would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for counties across California every two-year election cycle to pay for the extra voting materials and time the election officials will need to be working. The State would have to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in support for this idea, including updating voter registration systems. This is less than 1% of the state's general funding budget.