BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  ACA 17
                                                                  Page 1

          ACA 17 (Mullin)
          As Introduced March 31, 2005
          2/3 vote 

           ELECTIONS           4-1         APPROPRIATIONS      13-4        
          |Ayes:|Umberg, Klehs, Leno,      |Ayes:|Chu, Bass, Berg,          |
          |     |Levine                    |     |Calderon, Karnette,       |
          |     |                          |     |Klehs, Leno, Nation,      |
          |     |                          |     |Oropeza, Laird, Saldana,  |
          |     |                          |     |Yee, Mullin               |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |Nays:|Villines                  |Nays:|Sharon Runner, Emmerson,  |
          |     |                          |     |Nakanishi, Walters        |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
           SUMMARY  :  Allows a person who is at least 17 years of age and  
          will be 18 years of age at the time of the next general election  
          to register and vote at that general election and at any  
          intervening primary or special election that occurs after the  
          person is eligible to register to vote.

           EXISTING LAW  : 

          1)Requires an elector to be at least 18 years old in order to  
            vote in any local, state, or federal election.

          2)Allows a person that will be 18 years old at the time of the  
            next election to register to vote. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee analysis:

          1)One-time General Fund costs of about $220,000 to include an  
            analysis of the measure and arguments for and against the  
            measure in the statewide voter pamphlet.

          2)County election officials would incur minor one-time  
            reimbursable costs to reprogram computer systems.  Statewide  
            costs would probably be in the range of $100,000.


                                                                  ACA 17
                                                                  Page 2

           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, "[v]oter registration and  
          turnout among young adults has been abysmal in California.  For  
          most young adults, their first contact with the political  
          process is in high school through the mandated government class  
          during their senior year or through volunteering on campaigns  
          for community service credit.  This is the time to give them  
          ownership in the process by getting them to vote in primaries  
          while they still have a connection to their school and  
          community.  This amendment would bring California up to date  
          with 11 other states (Arizona, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky,  
          Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia,  
          and West Virginia), which permit any citizen who turns 18 by the  
          date of the general election to vote in interceding primaries,  
          municipal and special elections.  This practice resulted in a  
          higher turnout among the 18-24 year-olds demographic in those  
          This measure breaks with traditional notions of the age of  
          majority and the responsibilities and privileges attached  
          thereto.  For the most part, California law does not allow  
          minors to enter into civil contracts, including marriage, or to  
          be held to the same standards of accountability in criminal  
          matters, absent extenuating circumstances.  With a few limited  
          exceptions (most notably the legal drinking age), California  
          confers the legal rights and responsibilities attendant with  
          adulthood on those individuals who are 18 years of age or older.  
           The Twenty Sixth Amendment to the United States (U.S.)  
          Constitution states, "The right of citizens of the United  
          States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall  
          not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state  
          on account of age."  Additionally, Article II, Section 2 of the  
          California Constitution states, "A United States citizen 18  
          years of age and resident in this State may vote."  Because the  
          U.S. Constitution only addresses abridging the right to vote and  
          this bill expands voting rights there appears to be no conflict  
          with the federal constitution.  In an opinion dated April 12,  
          2004, the Legislative Counsel opined that an amendment to the  
          California Constitution to permit a person under the age of 18  
          to vote would not violate federal law.  
          ACA 25 (Mullin) of 2004 was substantially similar to this bill.   
          ACA 25 failed passage on the Assembly Floor.


                                                                  ACA 17
                                                                  Page 3

          As a constitutional amendment, this measure requires the  
          approval of the voters to take effect.  Legislation making the  
          statutory changes necessary to implement this measure would also  
          be required.  

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Ethan Jones / E. & R. / (916) 319-2094 

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