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Proposed bill to let driving-age teens vote in school board elections

Feb 12, 2021, 11:57 AM

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SALT LAKE CITY — Teens could get the right to vote — at least in school board races — under a proposal before the Utah legislature. 

Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, is proposing a bill allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in their local school board elections. This proposal, if passed, would also require local school boards to approve this measure. 

Can teens vote?

Some 16- and 17-year-olds already pre-register to vote in Utah, according to Justin Lee, state elections directly. 

“We’d have to do some changes, but yes, this is feasible,” he said. “We will have to make the programing modifications to not just flag the 16- and 17-year-olds who can vote, but also flag which school districts are participating in this and which ones aren’t.”

The estimated costs

It’s estimated it would cost around $20,000 to make the changes to know who to send the ballot to, but the proponents of this bill think it’s worth the cost to let teens vote and have a say in who represents them on their school board. 

What some teens think

Some teens also argue they should have a say in who runs their school boards. This leads to the question Lee asks:

“That’s really the question, is there a good reason for 16 and 17-year-olds to vote, and if 16 and 17-year-olds, why not 14 and 15-year-olds?” 

All of these questions will have to be considered as this bill is presented.  

More legislative coverage: 

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Proposed bill to let driving-age teens vote in school board elections