The current education system sends students into world with the expectation that they know how to register and vote under New York State's restrictive laws and deadlines. This leaves students unprepared for participation in democracy, and disenfranchises populations of young people all over the state.
It doesn't have to be this way.
For this reason, YPPG proudly supports the Young Voter Act (A6839/S5646). We believe young people are responsible enough to vote in state and municipal elections at 17. 17-year-olds are allowed to join the army, get married, get divorced, drive a car, drive a boat, and are taxed like adults. It is only right that they have the opportunity to vote like adults.
YPPG understand that some believe 17-year-olds do not have the experience or education to make them part of an informed electorate. That is why the Young Voter Act includes implementing at least eight full periods of civics education to the New York State high school curriculum. Not only will the bill allow more people to vote, it will create a generation of knowledgeable citizens who understand the system in which they participate.
Finally, it is vital that students are registered to vote before entering the real world. That is why the Young Voter Act allows students to register to vote within their high schools through an opt-out system. The three level approach of educating students in civics, registering them to vote, and allowing 17-year-olds to vote in local elections would be an effective force in increasing the voter participation of young people. Thousands of New Yorkers have signed our petition urging the legislature to take action on this bill, and we hope you will too!