House passes bill allowing older teens to visit voting booth with parent

The House of Representatives has passed legislation that would allow children below the age of 18 to accompany adults into the voting booth.
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PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — The House of Representatives has passed legislation introduced by Majority Whip John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Portsmouth, Tiverton) that would allow children below the age of 18 to accompany adults into the voting booth.

The legislation (2017-H 5448) would amend the existing law, which currently allows adults to be accompanied by children below the age of 13.

“In order to keep people interested in participatory democracy, we really need to create a culture of voting in this country,” said Representative Edwards. “The best way to do that is by involving children in the electoral process — and not just young kids.

“Teenagers who are on the verge of acquiring the right to vote themselves will be more likely to engage in civic participation if they can see their parents choosing their representatives and deciding referendum questions as a regular part of life.”

The issue was first brought to the attention of Representative Edwards by the Tiverton Board of Canvassers. The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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