Law Authored by Jackson To Encourage Young People to Vote Takes Effect

September 28, 2016

SACRAMENTO – A law authored by state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) to encourage young people to vote by allowing voter pre-registration beginning at age 16 has just taken effect.

In 2014, Jackson authored Senate Bill 113 and Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law. SB 113 did not change the voting age, which remains 18. But it allowed young people to fill out the necessary online or paper application to get ready to vote beginning at age 16.

The law was contingent upon the enactment of VoteCal, California’s new voter registration database, which Secretary of State Alex Padilla certified this week.  Beginning at age 16, Californians can now pre-register to vote at the DMV or through forms obtained at their county Registrar of Voters. Eventually, Californians will also be able to pre-register to vote online.

Pre-registration also has the potential to become part of high school civics classes. Once Californians turn 18, their registrations would become active.

“It’s terrific that at a time when elections are at the top of everyone’s mind, this bill has taken effect. It’s clear that we must continue to do all we can get young people voting, and one way to do that is to give them sufficient time and ample opportunity to get ready to vote, “ Jackson said. “Studies show that pre-registration can be a powerful way to encourage young people to become lifelong, engaged voters.”

Twenty other states allow voter preregistration before the age of 18.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.