Increasing Youth Participation: The Case for a National Voter Pre-Registration Law

Lagging youth participation rates threaten participatory democracy and undermine the representation of young people’s interests in elected government. However, the percentage of registered youth who actually cast ballots is very high. The correlation between registration and actual voter participation suggests that when given assistance and greater opportunities to register, young citizens will vote. This Note proposes a national pre-registration law that would allow voter registration to begin at age sixteen. Such a law would be feasible, constitutional, and politically viable and may increase not only the voter participation of young people, but also the socioeconomic diversity of the electorate.