Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hearing Tomorrow on Allowing 17-Year-Olds to Vote

Fox Chapel High School will host a hearing tomorrow on a bill that would give some 17-year-olds the right to vote. The bill would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if they will turn 18 before the corresponding general election. State Representative Frank Dermody of Oakmont has helped the Fox Chapel students seek the change. He is among those who will testify tomorrow. Dermody says the change would encourage more people to become politically active. He says if people get into the habit of voting at a young age, they'll get hooked for life. He also said the students convinced him that they should have a say in who ends up winning their party's nomination in the fall.

Dermody says the Department of State has testified that it would not cost anything to implement the change. He also says some Republicans have opposed the bill, but its sponsors include lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

At least nine other states allow 17-year-olds to vote. Connecticut is considering similar legislation.

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