(CBS13/AP) — Proposition 18, which would have let 17-year-old Californians vote in primaries if they turn 18 before the general election, failed Thursday. With more than 12 million votes tallied, 55% opposed it.
This means the voting age will remain at 18.
The proposition was defeated after voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a separate measure to restore voting rights to felons on parole.
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The civic engagement of young people is part of the reason supporters are urging the passage of Proposition 18, which would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries and special elections provided they turn 18 by the November general elections. At least 18 states and Washington D.C. have adopted laws that let people younger than 18 vote in certain circumstances.
Advocates say any chance to get people in the habit of voting should be encouraged. Besides, they say, young people whose birthdays fall between the primary and the general election are at an unfair disadvantage.
“Without full exposure to the election process they are unable to submit their most educated vote in the general election,” said the California Association of Student Councils.
The Election Integrity Project California, the main opponent to Prop 18, says that 17-year-olds are still considered children under the law and have no business deciding elections.
“They are almost all still living at home and under the strong influence of their parents. This is not conducive to independent thought and voting without undue pressure from their immediate superiors,” the group said.
And since most 17-year-olds are still in high school, they’d also be under the influence of their instructors, many of whom would push the agendas of powerful teachers unions, opponents say.