Official Arguments (click ▸ to expand)
Proposition 18 will allow those who will be 18 years of age by the time of the general election to participate in the primary election of that year if they are 17 at the time of the primary. This important election reform will not only allow first-time voters to participate in the full election cycle, but also has the potential to boost youth participation in our elections. We need youth voices to be represented at the ballot box. Allowing some 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if, and only if, they will be 18 by the time of the general election is a simple way to amplify the voices of young voters throughout California and will lead to a more inclusive election process for our state overall. California is behind the curve when it comes to this issue. Nearly half of states in the U.S. already allow 17-year-olds to participate in primaries and caucuses. If an individual plans to participate in the general election as a first-time voter, it is only reasonable that they be afforded the opportunity to shape the choices that appear on the general election ballot by participating in the primary. Proposition 18 links this 17-year-old participation to the age of majority by requiring that the individual be 18 by the time of the general election. According to research conducted by the California Civic Engagement Project, in the 2020 primary election in California, youth voters (those aged between 18 and 24) made up 14.5% of the population eligible to vote, however only about 6% of those who actually voted in the election. Youth are extremely underrepresented in our electoral process despite the fact that they are heavily impacted by the policies created by those elected. Not only does research indicate that the youth population has the lowest turnout levels out of any age demographic, but studies also show that voting is habit-forming—once an individual votes in an election, they are more likely to do so again. Early involvement in the electoral process for first-time voters should be a high priority for this reason. Proposition 18 is an opportunity to empower California's youngest voters and encourage them to become life-long participants in the most fundamental act of democracy. Please support Proposition 18. KEVIN MULLIN, Assemblymember CA Assembly District 22 EVAN LOW, Assemblymember CA Assembly District 28
Vote NO on Proposition 18 "Many tax increases and bond debt measures are decided on primary and special election ballots. That’s why only adults should vote."—Jon Coupal, President, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association 17-year-olds ARE NOT LEGALLY ADULTS Both the federal and California governments have set the age of legal responsibility at 18. In California, an individual even one day younger than 18 may not enter into a legal contract, or even use a tanning salon. Seventeen-year-olds cannot even participate in a school field trip without a permission slip signed by a parent or guardian. California law puts extra rules and restrictions on driver licenses of l6- and 17-year-olds because of concerns about maturity and judgment. The license restrictions disappear exactly on the 18th birthday, not before. California law reflects the scientific evidence that age-related brain development is connected to the ability to reason, analyze and comprehend cause-and-effect. The agreed-upon age of reason, both statewide and nationally, is 18. 17-year-olds ARE CAPTIVE AUDIENCES IN SCHOOL Voters deserve to hear all sides of an issue to make an informed choice. Most 17-year-olds are still in high school, dependent on teachers for grades and important recommendation letters vital to their future. They are a captive audience five days a week, with a strong incentive to do whatever teachers and counselors recommend. California’s primary ballot often includes school tax and bond measures for voter approval. Unlike adult voters, 17-year-olds who are still in high school are likely to hear only one side of these issues. For example, in 2019, the Los Angeles Unified School District engaged in an "informational" campaign to pass a proposed tax increase, Measure EE, in a special election. Schools posted huge banners on campus, handed out flyers and literature for students to take home, and even distributed sample social media posts in an effort to influence students and their families. If 17-year-olds are allowed to vote in primary and special elections, perhaps even filling out a mail-in ballot right in the classroom, these students could provide the margin to approve new debt and taxes that will greatly burden their parents and all taxpayers. POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IS OPEN TO ALL; VOTING IS DIFFERENT Everyone has the right to express an opinion, advocate on issues, organize like-minded people and volunteer on campaigns. The right to vote, however, is reserved for citizens who are state residents, who are not felons in prison, and who are at least 18 years of age on Election Day. Voting is a serious responsibility. In California elections, voters decide who will hold the power to make and enforce laws, whether to approve new debt that taxpayers will have to pay, whether to raise taxes, and many other complex issues. Important decisions must be made by voters who are legally adults, not by high school minors. VOTE NO on Proposition 18. RUTH WEISS, Co-founder Election Integrity Project California JON COUPAL, President Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association LARRY SAND, Retired Teacher
California Proposition 18, Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds Amendment (2020) - Ballotpedia
California Proposition 18, the Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds Amendment, is on the ballot in California as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on November 3, 2020. Proposition 18 would allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 at the time of the next general election to vote in primary elections and special elections.
✅ San Francisco Chronicle
"The idea isn’t a wholesale lowering of the voting age. It’s built on logic that links the sorting out of candidates in primaries with the eventual final choice in a general election. The young people envisioned in the proposition would have a crack at both votes, choosing the first cut of contenders and then taking part in the final runoff. It allows for a full cycle in the political game."
✅ The San Diego Union-Tribune
"One lamentable aspect of U.S. politics in the Donald Trump era is the disappearance of the bipartisan consensus that voting should be encouraged to give people a stake in their democracy. Vote yes on Proposition 18 to give more young people that stake."
✅ American Civil Liberties Union SoCal
"Vote to give 17-year-olds a say on important issues affecting their lives.
Prop 18 will expand voting rights to 17-year-olds by allowing them to vote in a primary or special election if they will be 18 by the time of the next general election and are otherwise eligible to vote. Vote YES on Prop 18 to give 17-year-olds a say on important issues affecting their everyday lives. Let’s make our democracy more inclusive."
✅ Los Angeles Times
"In California we have an added reason to let some 17-year-olds vote — our top-two primary system. Except for presidential elections, voters in California primaries don’t select which candidates will represent the various political parties on the November ballot, but rather they select from all the candidates which two will face off in November. (In some races, there won’t even be a runoff if a candidate gets more than 50% of the vote in the primary.) It makes sense that the teens who will be eligible to vote in a general election should also help decide whose names will be on that ballot."
🚫 The Mercury News
Editorial: Who should be allowed to cast a ballot in California?
Get editorials, opinion columns, letters to the editor and more in your inbox weekday mornings. Sign up for the Bay Area Opinion newsletter. California voters will be asked in the Nov. 3 election to expand the pool of state residents who can cast ballots. Proposition 17 would extend voting rights to people on parole.
🚫 Orange County Register
"There is no compelling reason to extend the right to vote to those who are 17, especially considering there are plenty of avenues for politically interested young people to be involved in the political process at a younger age, including working on campaigns, helping candidates get out the vote, speaking their minds and educating themselves."
🚫 The Desert Sun
"Pre-registration of young people beginning at age 16 already gives those eager to join the process a tangible step toward voting, which should remain a goal they’ll attain at age 18. It is definitely worth waiting for. Vote "no" on Proposition 18."
Editorial: Prop 18's lowering of voter age to 17 for some is a misfire. Vote no
Endorsements are decided by the Editorial Board, which operates independently of the Desert Sun news staff. The Editorial Board consists of Opinion Editor Al Franco, Executive Editor Julie Makinen, Desert Sun Staff Member Darby Wright and community members Gloria Franz, Becky Kurtz, Terria Smith and Rob Moon.
✅ California Democratic Party
Allows those who turn age 18 by a November general election to vote in that year’s primary elections.
YES on 18 - vote for our future
Voting YES on 18 allows first-time voters to participate in the full election cycle and build a lifelong civic participation habit. If you are able to serve in the military, you also deserve the right to vote. Young people are most affected by student debt, health care, the economy, gun laws, and climate change.
🚫 Republican Party
"Lowers the Voting Age
Prop 17 lowers the voting age for many young Californians to just 17 in Primary Elections. This means high school seniors would be voting for important tax measures only adults would pay."