Local

New Illinois law gives 17-year-olds more election, voting rights

A new law sponsored by state Sen. Dan McConchie will allow young people to become involved in the election process sooner than they had been allowed to participate in the past.

Under the law, signed last week by Gov. Bruce Rauner, individuals who will be 18 years old at the next election are now able to fully participate in the election process.

“There's no reason to say that 17-year-olds have the right to vote and prevent them from otherwise participating in the election process,” McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, said in a news release.

“Now, qualified 17-year-olds can sign and circulate petitions, pre-register to vote and act as deputy registrars. This new law makes the voting rights that 17-year-olds already have more complete,” McConchie said.

The new law also acts as an expansion of a 2013 law that allowed 17-year-olds who would be 18 by the general election to vote in the primary election.

House Bill 6167 went a bit further to allow 17-year-olds the ability to vote in a caucus or a consolidated primary as long as they would be 18 when the corresponding election takes place.

“As the state has already decided that 17-year-olds should be allowed to vote in general primary elections for federal, state and county office, they then too should be allowed to have a say at the local level,” McConchie said.

The law is effective immediately.

Illinois’ 26th Senate District covers southeastern McHenry and southwestern Lake County, as well as portions of Kane and Cook counties, including Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills, Cary, Fox River Grove, Carpentersville and Barrington.

McConchie will face Democratic opponent Kelly Mazeski of Barrington in the Nov. 8 election.

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