Another push to let 17-year-olds vote in NJ primary elections

December 11, 2023

Will many 17-year-old New Jerseyans soon be allowed to vote in primary elections? That could happen if a bill sponsored by Democratic Sens. Andrew Zwicker and James Beach clears the state Senate. The bill limits voting to those who will turn 18 by the general election.

The bill, written by Zwicker in 2016 when he was serving in the Assembly, was first introduced back then before then-Gov. Chris Christie vetoed it. Nineteen other states and Washington, D.C. have passed similar laws.

“There had been some concern back then that younger people tended to vote Democratic,” said Zwicker (D-Mercer). “We’ve seen some shift in young people right now. But there’s no partisanship to this. It is purely an age thing.”

Gov. Phil Murphy says he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk but asked that it be amended to delay implementation until 2026.

“These are two very important elections happening back to back. It’s shameful that they aren’t trying to enact this as quickly as possible,” said Micauri Vargas from the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.