Pre-registration open for young voters at 17.5 starting

November 1, 2019 | Headlines

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma citizens will be able to pre-register to vote when they turn 17.5 years old thanks to a new law that went into effect Nov. 1.

Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, and Rep. Zack Taylor, R-Seminole, authored Senate Bill 496 this past session to make it easier for young voters to remember to get registered to vote before they turn 18.

“Voting is one of our greatest freedoms, and that first time to vote is such a memorable experience. Unfortunately, many forget that they have to register 60 days before the election and end up not being able to vote until the following year,” Smalley said. “Hopefully, by using age rather than a specific time period, it’ll be easier for people to remember to get registered to vote and we’ll see more of Oklahoma’s youth getting involved in the voting process.”

Currently, a 17-year-old can pre-register to vote 60 days before an election if their 18th birthday is on or before election day. The new law will allow citizens to pre-register when they turn 17.5 regardless of when the election occurs as long as they will turn 18 on or before election day.
“We hope this bill will encourage more young people to do their civic duty and elect candidates to represent their interests at the local, state and national level,” said Taylor, R-Seminole. SB 496 is among over 300 new laws that went effect on Nov. 1.

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