In D.C., the Doors are Open
The District of Columbia has been regarded as a national leader for its continual investments in voter reforms that ensure voting accessibility and youth access to democracy. Since 2009, D.C. has enabled youth to engage in the electoral process by adopting voter pre-registration at 16 and allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections provided that the person will be 18 before the next general election.
Over the past two years, D.C. pledged to utilize its Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds primarily on voter outreach spearheaded by the D.C. Board of Elections and a fully interactive, electronic voter registration system. In 2017, D.C. adopted automatic voter registration , which made voter registration “opt-out” instead of “opt-in.”
Despite D.C.’s success in passing reforms aimed at removing obstacles to voter participation, there is still room for improvement, especially in fully engaging youth in the electoral process.
An estimated 4% of D.C.’s 16 year-olds are pre-registered to vote, while there is a significant increase of pre-registered 17 year-olds at 35%.
Read our press release for more information.