Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker that would allow more young New Jersey residents to participate in elections was advanced by an Assembly committee on Monday.
The bill (A-3591), the “New Voter Empowerment Act,” would allow 17-year-olds to vote in a primary election provided they will turn 18 on or before the next succeeding general election.
“Young people in New Jersey are eager to raise their voices and make a difference,” said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon/Mercer/Middlesex/Somerset). “Barring voters who will be able to participate in a general election from taking part in the primary beforehand unjustifiably dampers that enthusiasm. We can’t have two categories of voters in our state. If you can vote in a general election, you should be eligible to vote in the primary.”
New Jersey would join 21 states and the District of Columbia in allowing 17-year-olds who will turn 18 during the interim period between a primary or caucus and the general election to participate in the nomination process, Zwicker noted.
The legislation was advanced by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
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