BLOG: Getting 16-year-olds pre-registered to vote moves ahead

Rep Den Urdahl, R-Gtove City  MN House
Rep Dean Urdahl, R-Gtove City
MN House

In February, Alpha News reported on House File 391 sponsored by Rep Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, which would allow for all Minnesota 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote.  Urdhal’s bill was amended in committee, originally it had matched the Senate companion bill where the age to pre-register was sixteen.  Urdahl’s bill has seven DFL co-sponsors.

Now part of the larger Senate elections bill, Senate File 455, the issue is moving forward and will likely be brought as a floor amendment in the House in the coming weeks.

Currently Minnesota allows pre-registration for voters who will be 18-years-old by election day.   Only eight other states allow 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote.   Critics worry that there will be confusion as a voter registration card would be mailed to pre-voting-age kids, which may lead them to believe they’re legally eligible to vote.

The push for pre-registration is championed by Common Cause, a liberal advocacy organization based in Washington DC.  Their local Minnesota chapter is also currently pushing a law change to expand voting rights to convicted felons, which is also included in SF 455.