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Everyone should have the right to vote in free and fair elections regardless of who they are or where they live. To that end, FairVote advocates for enshrining an affirmative right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. In pursuit of that ideal, FairVote works to enact policies at the federal, state, and local levels that are consistent with our conviction that voting is not a privilege, but a right.



Advance-Registration Victories Continue
Rhode Island a signature away for second straight year
In the latest FairVote-inspired legislative victory, the Rhode Island Legislature will send a bill to the governor allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to advance-register to vote.  This news follows Florida Governor Charlie Crist (R) signing a bill allowing 16-year-olds to register when they receive their state-issued driver's license. People who advance-register in both states will automatically be added to the voter rolls when they reach 18-years-old. The Florida bill also gives these young people an opportunity to work at the polls on Election Day.

These important reforms are another step in the right direction for increasing youth voter turnout. These bills advance FairVote's goal of giving all young citizens an opportunity to register to vote and learn the mechanics of participation, regardless of their parents' voting behavior or socioeconomic status.

Florida joins Hawaii in allowing 16-year-olds to advance-register to vote. Rhode Island’s legislature passed a similar bill in 2006, but it was brought down by a the governor's veto.

[Learn more about FairVote's 100% Registration Project]
[Learn more about Universal Voter Registration]
[Read the Florida article]


State Legislatures Encourage Civic Participation
States introduce bills to increase youth voting
VotedA number of state legislatures have introduced bills that aim to increase youth voter participation. Proposals have included lowering the voting age, allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections and advance registration for 16-year-olds. Minnesota introduced a constitutional amendment lowering the voting age from 18 to 16. In Connecticut, the legislature is considering two bills (HJ 7, HJ 11) that would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if they will be 18 before the general election. Three states--California, Maryland and Pennsylvania--want to promote youth voter participation through advance registration and by establishing "high school voter weeks" twice a year. Strengthening civic education in high schools was considered (but did not make it through committee) in Florida and Indiana, but a FairVote-backed civic education bill in Maryland was signed into law.

Read more about FairVote's 100% Youth Voter Registration Project
Read about FairVote's high school voting curriculum, Learning Democracy


Florida Restores Voting Rights
Gov. Crist advances civil rights agenda
Gov. Charlie CristFlorida Governor Charlie Crist and the state clemency board approved restoring voting rights to people who have been convicted of a felony. Under the rule change, Florida officials will automatically begin the rights-restoration process upon sentence completion. Florida drew national attention during the disputed 2000 presidential election when many non-convicts were purged from the voter rolls because of errors in the state's prison database. With the rule change, Florida joins forty-seven other states that restore voting rights to individuals who have completed their sentences.

[Learn more about felon disenfranchisement]
[Read The New York Times article]
[Read Gov. Crist's statement on Civil Rights]


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Recent Articles
October 19th 2009
Mandatory Voting? Automatic Registration? How Un-American!
Huffington Post

President of Air America Media, Mark Green, explains why Instant Runoff Voting, Automatic Registration and Mandatory Voting are not only important but could lead to a more democratic society.

September 30th 2009
Can a 17-year-old register to vote? It depends
Ventura County Star

"Most Californians register to vote not because a political cause has touched their heart, but rather because they checked a box on a form at the Department of Motor Vehicles when they received or renewed their driverís license."

September 27th 2009
Giving teens a civic voice
The Fayetteville Observer

In January, North Carolina will become the third state to implement FairVote-endorsed youth preregistration.

September 8th 2009
Give voters final say on vacancies
Politico

The two legislators proposing a constitutional amendment mandating elections to fill Senate vacancies make their case in the pages of Politico.