State Rep. Richard Grucela has long advocated a bill to allow 17-year-olds to register and vote in primary elections in Pennsylvania so long as they are 18 by the time of that year’s general election. His bill (H.B. 259) finally made it through the State Government Committee yesterday.
"Young Americans came out in record numbers to vote in the 2008 presidential election because they care about their country and their future," said Grucela, D-Northampton. "My legislation would encourage a demographic typically expected to sit at home on Election Day to stay informed on the issues and vote. It just doesn’t make any sense to bar someone from fully participating in the election process simply because their birthday is a few months shy of the primary date."
According to Fairvote.com, 17-year-olds already vote in primaries and caucuses in nearly half of U.S. states, including Alaska, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia and Washington.
Grucela is a former teacher at Easton High School and a member of the House Education Committee who will be stepping down this year from a seat he's held since 1999.