May 22, 2024

DETROIT – In November 2023, the Michigan Legislature passed House Bill 4569, allowing young people ages 16-17 1/2 to preregister to vote. Michigan voting rights advocates are now supporting the implementation of voter preregistration by preparing future voters to cast their ballots.

“Voting is one of the essential tools people can use to participate in our democracy,” said Ashiya Brown, All Voting is Local Michigan state director. “Preregistration ensures that new voters can cast their ballot in elections immediately following their 18th birthday. It makes registering to vote easy and convenient for new voters and ensures they can participate in elections as soon as they are eligible.”

“Voting is the greatest equalizer that citizens have. Preregistration ensures new voters can participate in elections following their 18th birthday,” said Norman Clement, Detroit Change Initiative executive director. “This ensures that voters, particularly Black, Brown, Native American, and other historically marginalized communities, can participate in elections as soon as they are eligible.”

“At a recent voter registration event, the League of Women Voters of Grosse Pointe was pleased to preregister over 50 students,” said Judy Florian, vice president of voter services of the League of Women Voters Michigan. “Many students were surprised and pleased to know they could preregister to vote and would automatically be added to the voting file at age 17 1/2.”

“Our organization is built on the story of how two Selma Foot Soldiers protested and marched in Selma at the ages of 14 and 16. Their story is a testament to the effects and power of getting citizens engaged in the process at a very young age, and Michigan’s new laws on preregistration will accomplish just that,” said Charles Thomas, president of When You Vote – I Win. “We must do the work of capturing this targeted audience at the age and stages of their lives when our young people are on the precipice of exercising this great power in our democracy—our vote. I am proud to be a part of carrying on my legacy and engaging in this work.”

“The new law has excited students at multiple high schools across Macomb County. They were surprised that they could preregister at 16 and be able to vote as soon as they turned 18,” said Peggy Fisk, Our Time organizer. “As one student said excitedly to one of our volunteers, ‘I can do this now?’ Our Time registered or preregistered a total of 568 students at 17 Macomb high schools this spring. More than a third—217 students—were younger voters preregistering under the new law.’’