BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  ACA 7
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           Date of Hearing:   May 7, 2013

                  ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON ELECTIONS AND REDISTRICTING
                                  Paul Fong, Chair
                  ACA 7 (Mullin) - As Introduced:  February 13, 2013
           
          SUBJECT  :   Elections: voting age.

           SUMMARY  :   Allows a person who is 17 years old and who will be  
          18 years old at the time of the next general election to  
          register and vote in that general election and in any  
          intervening primary or special election that occurs after the  
          person registers to vote.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Permits a person who is a United States citizen, a resident of  
            California, not in prison or on parole for the conviction of a  
            felony, and at least 18 years of age at the time of the next  
            election to register to vote in any local, state, or federal  
            election.

          2)Allows a person who is at least 17 years old and otherwise  
            meets all voter eligibility requirements to register to vote.   
            Provides that the registration will be deemed effective as  
            soon as the affiant is 18 years old at the time of the next  
            election.  Provides this option will be operative when the  
            Secretary of State (SOS) certifies that the state has a  
            statewide voter registration database that complies with  
            federal law. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown 

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)Purpose of the Constitutional Amendment  :  According to the  
            author:

               Young voters have the lowest turnout rate of any age  
               demographic 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  








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               still have a connection to their school and community.

               This amendment would bring California up to date with the  
               20 other states (Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana,  
               Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota,  
               Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North  
               Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington)  
               that permit any citizen who turns 18 by the date of the  
               general election to vote in interceding primaries or  
               caucuses.  

           2)Consistent with United States Constitution  : The Twenty Sixth  
            Amendment to the United States 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. 

           3)Other States  :  According to information provided by the  
            author's office, the following states have enacted legislation  
            or passed initiatives to allow 17 year olds to vote in primary  
            elections: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky,  
            Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio,  
            Vermont, and Virginia.

          In addition, according to a 2010 report by the National  
            Conference of State Legislatures, some states allow 17 year  
            olds to register to vote before turning 18, but do not allow  
            the person to vote until he or she turns18 years old.   
            According to the report, the following states allow  
            pre-registration:  Alaska, California, Hawaii, Kansas,  
            Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island  
            and Wyoming.  

          As mentioned above, existing law allows for the pre-registration  
            of 17 year olds, however pre-registration will not go into  
            effect until the SOS certifies that the state has a statewide  








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            voter registration that complies with the requirements of the  
            federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C Section 15301  
            et seq.).  Therefore, in practice an individual may 
          register to vote if that person will be 18 years old by the time  
            of the next election.  

           4)Arguments in Support  :  FairVote writes in support:

               Allowing voters to participate in a primary connected to a  
               general election in which they can vote is only common  
               sense.  Maryland's experience with 17-year-old primary  
               voting is instructive.  It has been the state's practice  
               for several decades.  In 2007, however, the State Board of  
               Elections concluded it violated the state constitution.   
               Just weeks before the presidential primaries in February  
               2008, both major parties passed new rules ensuring  
               17-year-old citizens continued to have the right to vote in  
               their primary if 18 by November.  When the state's highest  
               court ultimately upheld that practice as constitutional,  
               both major parties and a wide range of civic groups  
               applauded the ruling. 

               Furthermore, by allowing young people to vote in primary  
               elections at 17, California would make voting more  
               accessible and give young people more opportunities to  
               become registered, lifelong voters.  The fact that the  
               state already has a law that will soon allow 17-year-olds  
               to pre-register to vote will make this cost-free to  
               administer.  17-year-old primary voting does not require a  
               new registration database system nor any new software,  
               equipment, or personnel.

           5)Previous Legislation  : AB 30 (Price), Chapter 364, Statutes of  
            2009, allows a person who is 17 years of age to pre-register  
            to vote, provided he or she would otherwise meet all  
            eligibility requirements.  

          ACA 2 (Furutani) of 2009, was substantially similar to this  
            measure.  No vote was taken on the Assembly Floor and the  
            measure died on the Inactive File.

          ACA 17 (Mullin) of 2005 and ACA 25 (Mullin) of 2004, were both  
            substantially similar to this measure.  ACA 17 was approved by  
            this committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee, but  
            no vote was taken on the Assembly Floor and the measure died  








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            on the Inactive File.  ACA 25 was approved by this committee  
            and the Assembly Appropriations Committee, but failed passage  
            on the Assembly Floor.

           6)Related Legislation  :  SB 113 (Jackson) authorizes 15, 16, and  
            17 year olds to pre-register to vote and eliminates an  
            existing provision of law that authorizes 17 year olds to  
            pre-register to vote only after implementation of a statewide  
            voter registration database.  SB 113 is pending in the Senate  
            Appropriations Committee.   

           7)Approval by Voters  : 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.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          California Federation of Teachers
          FairVote
          Gary Davis, Mayor, City of Elk Grove
          League of Women Voters of California
          One Individual

           Opposition 
           
          None on file.
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Nichole Becker / E. & R. / (916)  
          319-2094