New Jersey governor signs bill allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections – JURIST

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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the New Voter Empowerment Act on Thursday, allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if they are 18 by the succeeding general election.

Under the new law, 17-year-olds can vote in the primaries if they are US citizens, reside in the district they expect to vote in and will be 18 by the next general election. However, the law does not take effect until January 2026, so 17-year-olds in New Jersey cannot vote in the 2024 primaries. In response to signing the new law, Murphy stated, “To strengthen our democracy, we must ensure that all eligible voters can participate in it. Across government, we see how the decisions we make today impact future generations. I am proud to sign legislation that expands access to the ballot box while engaging and empowering a new generation of voters.”

19 other states have similar laws that allow 17-year-olds to vote if they will be 18 by the next general election.

In anticipation of the 2024 elections, many states are litigating and changing voting rules. Last month, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin ruled 4-3 that the state legislature’s assembly district maps are unconstitutional under the Wisconsin Constitution and ordered new remedial maps to be drawn for the 2024 elections. Additionally, two prominent voting rights advocacy groups sued Republican state leadership in North Carolina over the state’s redistricting plans. 

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