NY teens can now “pre-register” to vote at age 16

A new state law that took effect on Jan. 1 allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote and requires school boards to adopt policies to encourage students to pre-register or register if they’re 18.

Under the law, teens who pre-register will automatically be registered as voters when they turn 18, without having to go to their county election offices or take any other action.

New York lawmakers passed the bill a year ago in a sweep of Democratic-sponsored election reforms, with many Republicans, particularly in the Assembly, opposing voter pre-registration. Sen. David Carlucci, the Rockland County Democrat who carried the Senate version, argued in a statement that signing up future voters will foster sustained participation.

“When young people are engaged from an early age they stay engaged,” Carlucci said. “By eliminating barriers to register and increasing education, we are strengthening our democracy.”

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