A ballot measure that would have let 17-year-old Californians vote in primaries if they turn 18 before the general election has failed.
With more than 12 million votes tallied Thursday, 55% opposed Proposition 18.
Advocates of youth voting said the change in law would engage young voters while opponents said 17-year-olds weren’t adults and were likely to be swayed by their parents. At least 18 states and Washington, D.C., let people under 18 vote in certain circumstances.
The Election Integrity Project California, the main opponent to Prop. 18, said 17-year-olds are still considered children under the law and have no business deciding elections.
“They are almost all still living at home and under the strong influence of their parents,” the group said. “This is not conducive to independent thought and voting without undue pressure from their immediate superiors.”
With most 17-year-olds still in high school, they also would be under the influence of their instructors, many of whom would push the agendas of powerful teachers unions, opponents said.
Assemblymember Kevin Mullin, who supported Prop. 18, called the results disappointing.
Proponents said that any chance to get people in the habit of voting should be encouraged. Besides, they said, young people whose birthdays fall between the primary and the general election are at an unfair disadvantage.
“Without full exposure to the election process, they are unable to submit their most educated vote in the general election,” said the California Association of Student Councils.
The proposition was defeated after voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a separate measure to restore voting rights to felons on parole.
Proposition 17 will give the vote to an estimated 50,000 people who supporters said have paid their debt to society and should be able to choose their representatives and shape the policies that affect their daily lives.