Oct 6, 2023 - Politics

More than 1,000 Minnesota teens have pre-registered to vote under new law

Illustration of a hand casting a ballot into a calendar

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Roughly 1,100 Minnesota teens have pre-registered to vote under a new state law meant to get young people on track to cast a ballot once they turn 18.

Why it matters: While youth turnout has trended up in some recent elections, voters under 30 still tend to cast ballots at lower rates than older Americans.

  • Some studies have shown that allowing teens to sign up to vote before they turn 18 can help increase participation.

How it works: 16- and 17-year-old residents who will eventually be eligible to vote can fill out a regular voter registration form in person or online. Once they're 18, the state's system will automatically add them to the voter rolls.

Between the lines: While the law took effect in June, Secretary of State Steve Simon spent the last month visiting schools to encourage students to take advantage of the new law.

  • 676 of the 1,141 new pre-registrations were completed in September, the secretary of state's office told Axios.

Yes, but: The overall pre-registration numbers represent just 1% of the 150,000 Minnesota teens the office has estimated are eligible.

Zoom out: The change was part of a bigger slate of new laws supporters argue will increase access to the polls, including automatic voter registration for residents who apply for a driver's license, state medical assistance or other eligible governmental services, and giving Minnesotans the option to sign up to receive a mail ballot for all future elections.

Of note: Minnesota already has one of the nation's highest turnout rates for young voters.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that 1,141 teens have pre-registered to vote under the new law (not 1,817).

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