California Proposition 18, titled “The Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds Amendment,” if approved, will allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they turn 18 by the time of the next general election.
Eighteen states—including Washington D.C.— already allow first-time voters, who are still 17-years-old, to register to vote in the primaries and special elections.
The ballot measure was accepted as Assembly Concurrent Resolution 4 (ACA 4) in the course of the 2019 – 2020 legislative session. The California Senate voted in favor—31 to 7 to proceed with ACA 4 on June 25. The next day, the State Assembly voted in favor—56 to 13 to proceed with ACA 4.
Co-Founder of the Election Integrity Project California Ruth Weiss, among others, wrote the official argument against in the voter information guide.
According to the ballot summary, Prop. 18 “Amends constitution to permit 17-year-olds who will be at least 18 years old and otherwise eligible to vote at the time of the next general election to vote in any primary or special election that occurs before the next general election.”
Supporters of Prop 18 argue that by lowering the voting age by a year – with restrictions – will help encourage civic engagement within the youth of the U.S., who will turn into longtime voters and politically engaged, young adults.
However, opponents believe that teenagers are not able to make wise decisions at the age of 17 – such as voting – since the brain is not fully developed yet, therefore Prop 18 would be a risk for democracy if the voting age is lowered.
The fiscal impact means increased cost every two years for sending and processing new material suitable for 17-year-old first-time voters. As well as a higher, one-time cost for updating current voter systems.