042016CM0621ResizeSPRINGFIELD— Seventeen-year-olds throughout the state could have the ability to become more involved in the political process thanks to a measure pushed by State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills).

The Suffrage at 17 movement started at Adlai E. Stevenson High School, in Lincolnshire, Illinois, when students felt they should have a say in general election primaries about who would represent them in the general election. In 2013, it became law that all 17-year-olds who would be 18 by the general election could vote in the primary. House Bill 6167 would expand on that law.

House Bill 6167 would allow 17-year-olds to vote in a consolidated primary as long as they would be 18 at the consolidated election. This would allow them to have a say in many local primaries, including city councils, school boards and other forms of local governments.

“Restricting a 17-year-old from having a say in who represents them at the local level is unfair and undemocratic,” Link said. “We should be opening the doors to them, not shutting them out.”

The legislation also would  allow 17-year-olds to participate by passing nominating petitions for candidates or for a question to be put on a ballot.

HB 6167 passed the Senate unanimously and returns to the House for a final vote before going to the governor for approval.

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