Lawmakers consider lowering primary voting age

Published 04/16 2013 06:10PM

Updated 04/16 2013 06:23PM

SPRINGFIELD -- Big changes could be on the way for primary elections in Illinois. Some lawmakers want to lower the voting age to 17. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels has more.

It would only be for some 17-year olds. You'd have to turn 18 by Election Day in November. That way, everyone who gets a say in the final election also gets a say in which names end up on the ballot.

"It's important to vote in this election regardless of who you're voting for."

At UIS, campus elections are just around the corner. These students hope to win over a pretty tough crowd.

"The youth turnout is never very strong."

Something these young politicians say needs to change.

"The youth are going to be the ones mattering in politics. They're going to be the ones deciding things later and it's good to get a jump-start on that early."

That's why some state lawmakers want to let certain 17-year olds vote. It would only be allowed in primary elections, during even-numbered years. 

"I think, if you're 17 and you want to vote, that's not a bad idea."

Kaitlin Kinser took an interest in politics early on in life.

"I was like 15 and I thought that was so cool. And everyone was like, 'no you don't want to get into politics,' and I said, 'yeah, I really do.'"

But, Kaitlin says she's a rare case among her classmates and doesn't think all younger voters are ready for the responsibility.

"I think people need to be educated before they vote."

And, if they are, she says they should have a say.

"I think giving 17-year olds that option, if they want to get involved, they are going to be hopefully educated and that's why they want to be involved."

The Sangamon County Clerk says it wouldn't involve any extra costs or workloads. 19-other states already have this law on the books.

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