It is an important rite of passage as a young adult in America: taking one's
place in the democratic process by registering to vote and casting a ballot.
Unfortunately, too many young citizens do not take advantage of this
Research shows that preregistration policies targeting 16- and 17-year-old
citizens not only help to increase civic participation among young people,
but also enfranchise a broader range of America's youth, particularly those
from historically underrepresented populations. Empowering this untapped
pool of future voters can help reduce historical disparities in the electorate
for future generations with just a simple, inexpensive adjustment in the
administration of elections.
This legislative brief discusses the underrepresentation of youth -- particularly
youth of color -- in the general electorate, and how the growing trend of
preregistration helps to address this problem. It concludes with recommendations
for implementing preregistration policies.