Beyer re-introduces legislation to boost voting rights, civic participation among teens
Virginia Democrat Don Beyer has re-introduced the Pre-Registration of Voters Everywhere (PROVE) Act to expand voter registration and increase participation in the democratic process.
The PROVE Act would allow citizens who are 16 and 17 years old to pre-register to vote so they can be added to voter rolls automatically when they turn 18.
“In the wake of unprecedented attacks on American democracy, it is imperative that Congress do all it can to strengthen voting rights,” said Beyer, who represents the Eighth District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“2020 saw record numbers of Americans cast their votes, and continuing that progress in civic participation is vital to helping build trust in the political process. The more citizens engage in our democracy, the stronger it is. Pre-registration is a proven tool to accomplish that engagement, and is already helping more young people vote in states that have adopted it. As the House takes up election reform, I look forward to consideration of measures such as this one that will make it easier for people to vote.”
The PROVE Act is endorsed by Common Cause, Fair Vote Action, and Rock the Vote.
“The COVID-19 crisis presents substantial challenges to young voters, many of whom already face significant barriers to having their voices heard and votes counted under normal circumstances,” said Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections at Common Cause. “We have a civic duty to ensure that all eligible students can exercise their right to vote, and Common Cause commends Representative Beyer for introducing the PROVE Act to help amplify the voices of all young voters.”
“It’s time to make pre-registration a national norm. We’ve supported and tracked it from the beginning. Experience shows that voter pre-registration is good government that efficiently increases the number of young people accurately placed on active voter rolls when they reach voting age. It has passed by lopsided margins in Republican-run states like Florida and Louisiana and in Democratic-run states like Maryland and Delaware — and delivered on its promises in all of them,” said Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote.
“A healthy democracy requires policies that promote civic participation particularly for marginalized groups, including young people who face disproportionate barriers to voting,” said Carolyn DeWitt, president of Rock the Vote. “Rock the Vote is proud to support the PROVE Act, a critical step in preparing our country’s youngest voters to participate in our democracy as soon as they are eligible, leading the way toward a more representative government. Our democracy is resilient, but the current climate begs us to make profound improvements to strengthen it.“
Text of the PROVE Act is available here.