Sixteen and Seventeen Year Old Voter Registration in Washington State clears the State House and Senate.

The bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 27 to 22;  and the House by a vote of 52 to 46.  It is 2SHB 1513 located here.  The page showing the digest of the bill and other information is here.

Main Provisions of the Bill as listed on the legislative web page:

  1. 16 and 17 year old citizens are allowed to register to vote but their names are not put on the Registered voter list until they turn 18 for the next election.
  2. Exempts normal public Registration Information from disclosure until the person can vote in the next election.
  3. Exempts 16 and 17 year old Registered citizens from addition to the Jury Pool list.
  4. Provides (thru the Officer of Superintendent of Public Instruction) a voter registration event in high school classes on Temperance Day and Good Citizenship Day.
From the Legislation  “Future voter” means a United States citizen and Washington state resident, age sixteen or seventeen, who wishes to provide information related to voter registration to the appropriate state agencies.”
Again From the Legislation: “The applicant must affirmatively acknowledge that he or she will not vote until his or her eighteenth birthday.”
“Clear and conspicuous language, designed to draw the applicant’s attention, stating that the applicant must be a United States citizen in order to register to vote;”
The trouble with the above wording in the legislation appears in Section 13 of the revised act.

Senator Doug Ericksen of the 42nd Legislative District Brought up this problem during debate leading up to the vote on the bill.

A provision in the bill could allow for the legal Registration of non-citizen 16 or 17 year old people.

“A person who knows that he or she does not possess the legal qualifications of a voter and who registers to vote is guilty of a class C felony.” BUT in the new legislation the following lines are added:
“This section does not apply to persons age sixteen or seventeen signing up to register to vote as authorized under section 5 of this act.”

Here are the comments on the floor of the Senate presented by 42nd District Senator Doug Ericksen on an amendment to make the bill work.

You read the law and see what you think.  Is it possible that a sixteen or seventeen year old non-citizen could register to vote and suffer no consequences under the law as stated above?  This legislation seems unclear on what would happen to the non-citizen registered voter if they then voted in an election.



  1. Thats great, now the Bellingham schools can get out of school early to protest guns, Trump & go and vote for who their teachers tell them to.

  2. I don’t think 16 and 17 year olds have the capacity to understand legislation, pending laws, true societal repercussions of their actions, etc. Their brains are not fully developed yet according to numerous scientific studies.

    Are they going to pass a law to have 16 and 17 year olds register for the draft too – while waiting for their 18th birthday to kick in? Why not?

    This is a new way to create a “contact list” for devious politicians to source for their purposes of ginning up the unsuspecting youth to protest this and protest that. They can’t vote but they can go block a street and create havoc when summoned to do so via this new contact list.

    • Sandy, minors already have the option of enlisting in the military before they are 18 but cannot join until they are 18. Other rules often apply to this practice like graduating from high school. I’m not sure Uncle Sam is enticing these young men and women to disclose their info for ominous reasons. If you truly believe that “17 year old’s do not have the capacity to understand pending laws or the true societal repercussions of their actions” why do we allow them to sign up for military service? Do you believe they have the capacity to understand killing, PTSD, war, trauma, etc but not voting outcomes? Your opinion about ulterior voting motives is suspect. I seriously doubt that, in this political climate, any young person who is in our state without legal papers would try to sign up to vote. That would put an ICE target on them and their family members. Any way we can engage young Americans in the political process is a good thing. Education, not barriers.


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