Some 17-Year-Olds Can Vote In Colorado's Presidential Primary This Year

Under a new state law, about 24,000 teens who turn 18 before November's election can cast a ballot in the nomination race.

Coloradans who are 17 years old, your time is now. But only if you’ll be 18 by Nov. 3.

For the first time, teenagers in the state who will turn 18 by the date of the election in November will be allowed to vote in the state’s presidential primary. The new law went into effect in August 2019, but this is the first time it will be put it to use.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office estimates that as a result of the law, about 24,000 more people are eligible to vote in the primary. The state’s contest is one of 16 held on March 3 ― Super Tuesday ― in the Democratic presidential race.

Colorado has 3.9 million registered voters, so the new, younger cohort is unlikely to significantly alter the outcome of the state’s primary.

“That’s a small number of new active voters, and chances are that turnout won’t be very high among this group, since it tends to be low among young people in general, and probably a lot of them aren’t aware they can vote now,” Seth Masket, a political science professor at the University of Denver, told the Aurora Sentinel. “However, if we see a particularly close race in Colorado, and some 17-year old voters are particularly attached to one candidacy, that bit of extra turnout could make a difference,” he added.

At least seven other states and the District of Columbia have similar statutes on the books, according to The Associated Press.