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Register to Vote Starting at Age 16

by Girls Build Summit Action Center | 9.4.18

Your state may allow for voter pre-registration of 16 and 17-year olds! Check out the list below from to see if you can register to vote early in your state.

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Registration Starting at 16 Years Old


14 States allow registration as early as 16 years old according to the National Council of State Legislatures. These states are: 

  • California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Washington. This list does not include states that have laws on the books that include Automatic Voter Registration characteristics (more on these states below). For more information visit our Voting In Your State resource to contact your local election official.

Registration Starting at 17 Years Old

Four states have laws on the books that state registration can occur at the age of 17. Maine, Nevada, New Jersey and West Virginia allow young voters to register who will be 18 in time for a general election. For instance, if you have a client in your hometown of Brunswick, Maine who elects to register to vote in March before their October 18th birthday, they’ll be a pending voter and will be eligible to go to the polls on Election Day in November.


Registration After 17.5 Years & Beyond

So after a prospective voter you serve turns 17, things get a little more complicated and certainly less cut and dry. Some states allow registration six months before an election, some states, like Texas allow for registration after a person turns 17 and 10 months, and others don’t have a law on the books that specifically addresses this in clear fashion. Some states in this group have Automatic Voter Registration that covers pre-registration, but again, it isn’t as crystal clear as one would hope. For information about your state, we encourage you to consult our Voting in Your State page for the most accurate and up to date information. 

For more information, visit the National Council on State Legislatures (NCSL’s) handy page on pre-registration for young voters.

Girls Build Summit Action Center

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