Legislation that would open primary elections to 17-year-olds in Illinois is on its way to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk after the Senate overwhelmingly approved it earlier this week. The teens will be able to vote in spring primaries if they will turn 18 by the general election in November. Nineteen other states have enacted similar laws. The Senate voted 43-9 Wednesday to send House Bill 226 to the governor. The House approved the proposal in April by a 95-22 vote.
Adams County Clerk Georgia Volm said she believes the move could help increase turnout in primaries in some local races, since students will likely be familiar with some of the local issues, such as in their school districst.
Volm said it also might convince younger voters to maintain their voter registration in Adams County when they go to college.
“In the state of Illinois, they have the right to use their voter registration at their home or the school they’re going to,” she said. “Maybe that will generate enough interest where now they are going to be able to vote locally at the age of 17 and get them involved in it a little sooner before they take off for college.”