CITIZEN VOICES® Should teens vote in the primaries?

Aug 28, 2017

Allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primaries does not violate the 26th Amendment, which only forbids states from setting a voting age older than 18. Read more. On August 28, Citizens Count, NH’s Live Free or Die Alliance decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posting the question, “Should NH allow 17 year-olds to vote in a primary if they will be 18 by the time of the general election?” 

Should some 17 year-olds be allowed to vote in primary elections?

Voting Age NH Citizen Voices Chart

Participation: 387 participants gave 239 responses.

A total of 88% of those participating gave a ‘yes or no’ response to the question. The remaining 12% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a ‘yes or no’ response. In total, 239 individuals from New Hampshire contributed a total of 387 responses or reactions to this question. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said

No: A strong majority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 82%, were against allowing some 17 year-olds to vote in primary elections.

  • “No, the age of majority is the age of majority. Can they drink then? Can they enlist without their parents’ permission? Can they enter legal contracts? No.”
  • “Most can’t decide what to wear, never mind making decisions in our government.”
  • “No. Actually, I'd support raising the voting age to 25. 18 year olds today aren't as mature as they were generations ago.”

Yes: A minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 10%, were in favor of allowing some 17 year-olds to vote in primary elections.

  • “If they will be legal age by election day, they should have a say in who makes it to the election.”
  • “Yes. The sooner young people get involved with their government the better.”
  • “Yes, it's in keeping with the 26th Amendment.”

Other: As noted above, 12% of those participating did not give a ‘yes or no’ response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:  

  • Jurisdiction: “Since political parties are private organizations, it is up to the party what their rules are for their primaries.  The state should have nothing what so ever to do with it.”
  • Voter eligibility: “I think only taxpayers should be able to vote. Everyone else has no skin in the game, except the elderly who paid into the system. I'd let them stay in.”
  • Gender: “16 for females, 18 for males. I invite open discussion. Respectfully.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

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