Voting Age

LFDA Editor

In New Hampshire, you must be 18 to vote. However, 17 year-olds are allowed to register to vote if they will be 18 by the next election day.

Constitionality 

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. 

Almost half of US states, including Maine and Vermont, accordingly allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they will be 18 by the time of the election.  

Pro and Con

Those who support allowing 17-year-olds to vote argue that including them will encourage civic involvement among youth. 

Those who oppose allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primaries often argue that younger voters are less informed at the polls.  In 2011, then-House Speaker Bill O'Brien supported limiting the voting rights of college students for that very reason, arguing, "That's what kids do, they don't have life experience, and they just vote their feelings."

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

Signed by Governor

Allows 17-year olds to register to vote provided they will turn 18 by the time of the general election.

Killed in the House

Constitutional amendment allowing 17 year-olds to vote in primary elections, provided they turn 18 by the time of the general election.

Killed in the House

Constitutional amendment allowing 17 year-olds to vote in primary elections, provided they turn 18 by the time of the general election.

Tabled in the Senate

Allows 17 year-olds to vote in primary elections, provided they turn 18 by the time of the general election.

Should NH allow some 17 year-olds to vote in primary elections?

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Issue Status

Rep. Mindi Messmer requested a 2017 constitutional amendment allowing 17-year-olds who will be eligible to vote in the general election to vote in that election's primary, but she withdrew the bill before the legislative session started.

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