For the first time ever, 17-year-old residents of Illinois will be able vote in a primary election this year — provided they will turn 18 in time for the Nov. 4 general election. This comes as welcome news for politically minded students like Julian Engels, a junior at Quincy High School. Engels will turn 18 in July. That not only makes him eligible right now to register to vote, but it also means he’ll be able to cast a ballot in the March 18 primary election — something he plans to do. Engels has already printed out an Illinois voter-registration form that he downloaded from the Internet. “I filled out the form and I’m ready to mail it in,” he said. But he’s not going to stop there. Engels is also planning to encourage other eligible QHS students to register to vote and take part in the election process this year.
“I’m going to try to set up a registration table at QHS for students who want to vote because I think it’s important that everybody should be politically active at a young age,” he said.
Engels said he’s glad the General Assembly changed the election law to enable people his age to take part in a primary election for the first time.
“I think it’s great that even more young people are going to have the chance to vote for who they want to see in office and who they think can make a change for the better,” he said.
The new election law took effect Jan. 1. Residents who are 17 — and older people who wish to vote –must register by Feb. 18 to be eligible to cast ballots in the March 18 primary.