May 13, 2009
Committee moves bill on 16-year-old vote
LANSING – House Democrats stuck another blow for bringing more people into our democracy and increasing government participation by reporting two bills out of the House Committee on Ethics and Elections on Wednesday that will allow 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote.
The Committee, chaired by House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Kathy Anger, D-Dundee, reported House Bill 4261, introduced by Rep. Lesia Liss, D-Warren, and House Bill 4337, introduced by Rep. Robert Jones, D-Kalamazoo, the bills out to the full House Floor.
Chris Thomas, director of the state Bureau of Elections, testified in support of the bills, and he said when a 16-year-old goes to the Secretary of State’s office for their driver’s license, they would be allowed to pre-register to vote. Once the person reaches age 17 and a half, they would be sent their voter ID card. They would be allowed to vote in the election occurring in the year they turn 18, not on their birthday, which is existing state law.
The only no votes were cast by two Republicans on the committee: Rep. Kim Meltzer, R-Clinton Township, and Rep. Kenneth Kurtz, R-Coldwater. However, neither gave any reason for opposing it.
Some Republicans have resisted any effort to increase voter turnout, such as their opposition to no reason absentee voting, approved by the House earlier this month.