California could expand primary voting to some 17-year-olds

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California voters will decide in November whether 17-year-olds should be allowed to vote in primaries or special elections if they will turn 18 by the date of the general election.

The California Assembly approved a proposed Constitutional amendment on Friday by a vote of 54-8. Voters must still approve the amendment before it can become law.

At least 17 states and the District of Columbia already allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary or special elections if they will turn 18 by the date of the general election. Some states allow 17-year-olds to participate in presidential caucuses as long as they will turn 18 by the general election.

Bill author state Assemblyman Kevin Mullin said the change will amplify the voices of young voters by allowing more first-time voters to participate in the full election process. But opponents, including the Election Integrity Project California Inc., note 17-year-olds are minors and most of them still live at home under the strong influence of their parents.

The deadline to put the amendment on the ballot was Thursday. But in a separate vote on Friday, the Assembly passed a law to make an exception for this amendment.

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