House committee tables bill to let 16 and 17-year-olds vote

On Saturday in the House Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs Committee, a bipartisan group of representatives tabled H.B. 217 by Reps. Christine Trujillo (D-Bernalillo) and Christina Ortez (D-Taos). The bill would have allowed 16 and 17-year-olds to vote.

The bill also notes that 17-year-olds would be allowed to vote in state primaries if they are 18 by the time the primary election is over. “For the purposes of a political primary, 17-year-olds may also currently vote if they will turn 18 on or before the general election immediately succeeding that primary election,” reads the fiscal impact report (FIR) for the bill, which implies that even in federal elections the minor could vote.

The FIR further notes that this move could likely increase Democrat voter turnout, according to Tufts University.

It reads, “[I]t should be noted Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life find that 63 percent of voters aged 18 to 29 nationally voted for democratic candidates in the House of Representative elections, so it is possible that allowing 16-year-olds to vote as provided for in HB217 could result in a disproportionate increase in turnout for democratic candidates. However, it is unclear whether this is because 16-year-old Democrats are more likely to turn out to vote or that 16-year-olds are more likely to be Democratic-leaning. Further, data does not indicate whether the turnout from youth voters (ages 18 to 29) effectively changed the results of prior elections.”

Rep. John Block (R-Alamogordo) noted a scientific study by Tak Wing Chan, Ph.D., and Matthew Clayton, D.Phil., which read, “research in neuroscience suggests that the brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex, is still undergoing major reconstruction and development during the teenage years.” He said he was going to be “following the science” and reject the bill.

The bill ultimately died on a tie 4-4 vote, with Reps. Block, Bill Rehm (R-Albuquerque), D. Wonda Johnson (D-Rehoboth), and Martin Zamora (R-Santa Rosa) all voting against the bill. 

Similar bills in the past have shared similar fates, with science proving that 16 and 17-year-olds would not be appropriate qualified electors. 


8 thoughts on “House committee tables bill to let 16 and 17-year-olds vote”

  1. Amazing, this gives me some hope that it is possible that people can still hear a reasonable argument and make a decision based on legitimate evidence.

  2. That’s some welcome news! I remember being 16 & 17 – one of the silliest times of my life. I probably wouldn’t have even bothered to vote way back then! I was more interested in boys, band, boys, my friends, boys, and trying to seem cool. I am not and never have been cool! About the most brainless time of my life. So the world should be glad I didn’t vote!

  3. At 16 most haven’t figured out how to tie their shoes let alone get out of bed at a decent time And if they attend public schools they have learned LITTLE if any thing about the Government or real world events. Computer games and lack of reality aren’t a good education or stepping stone in to political knowledge. (In kids defense 99% of voting adults in New Mexico do not research candidates or we WOULDN’T have Moochie Loserjan Gruesome in office!)

  4. I agree the younger voters will vote democrat. With our “great” education system even I was a democrat back in 79 in Alamogordo. Our teachers tend to lean left. I only hope real history is being taught now but seriously doubt it as NMs lean to the left until they live life and figure out how the schools lied to them.

    1. They would vote Democrat because ADULTS GROOM THEM TO. That is all this is…GROOMING…and people are too stupid to realize it. It’s the same concept as the cigarette companies advertising to kids back in the day. Gotta get those potential consumer hooked young! These “progressives” want to groom kids early to vote the way they want them to vote. That is at the heart of a lot of things we are seeing in our world. Indoctrination, through schools, the media and now politicians and special interest groups. 16 and 17 year olds are not mature enough to vote through their own comprehension and understanding, period. When I was that age 40 years ago, my primary interests were chasing boys and partying. I didn’t know a thing about politics or jack about the adult world.

      This is also why we have child labor laws, a drinking age and legal ages to marry, own and use firearms and join the military.

  5. Thanks to the folks that voted no. Can you imagine with the lowest literacy rate in 50 states and District of Columbia for our school young adults how any of them could read and understand the bills that are proposed every year? But then again we allow our young woman to abort without their parent’s knowing so it is only a matter of time that this bill will be presented again and again. The increase of registered voters would raise the percentage of voters which is key to rank choice voting. SJR 7. The next very bad bill for New Mexico election integrity.

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