Introducing An Election Reform Bill To Expand Voter Participation Nationwide

Originally published on Huffington Post Voices by Rep. Don Beyer (VA) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (IL)

The right to vote is a founding tenet of our democracy, and the strength of our government depends upon the participation of the American people. Unfortunately, many Americans still face unnecessary barriers when it comes to casting their vote, in part because of efforts from cynical politicians to stifle voter participation. As a result, voter turnout in the United States continues to lag behind that of many other developed nations. We should be doing everything we can to make it easier – not harder – for Americans to access the ballot box.

That’s why we introduced bicameral legislation this month that would help get young people signed up to vote. The Pre-Registration of Voters Everywhere (PROVE) Act would allow young Americans aged 16 and older to pre-register to vote in federal elections. Once future voters sign up, they are automatically registered as voters when they turn 18.

Our legislation also provides grant assistance for schools and election officials to teach students about the values of civic participation.

Nothing is more important to representative government than choosing our leaders through free and fair elections. Sadly though, too many young people do not participate in the electoral process. In the last federal election cycle, the registration rate for 18 to 24-year-olds was 20 percent lower than the national average for all age groups. People aged 18 to 24 are consistently the least likely age group to cast a ballot, a trend which continued in 2016, even though young people will be bearing the brunt of policy decisions for decades to come.

At least 20 states and the District of Columbia are leading the way on this initiative, and have previously passed laws allowing young people to pre-register to vote. A study by George Mason University examined two of those states ― Florida and Hawaii ― and found strong evidence to support the positive impact pre-registration has on turnout and civic engagement. The same study found these results were even more pronounced when election officials and school administrators worked together to develop civics curriculum aimed at improving electoral participation.

The PROVE Act would build on this reform for federal elections.

Voting is habit forming; when people vote, they are likely to vote again. The PROVE Act is an effective way to engage young people early on and encourage lasting participation in elections, which is why our bill has attracted the support of leading election reform and advocacy organizations including Rock the Vote, Common Cause, FairVote, and Headcount.

Our nation is stronger when our government reflects the makeup and the values of the American people. Passing a federal law that allows teenagers in every state to pre-register will help our government be more representative and respond to the needs of all Americans.

Follow Rep. Don Beyer at @RepDonBeyer and Sen. Tammy Duckworth at @SenDuckworth.


Make a comment

Vision for America is a citizen platform for voices and solutions, a community-created vision for our nation. Get involved and share your vision and ideas for our nation's future. Learn more at

Latest site updates:

Green New Deal

GREEN NEW DEAL: A vision for America to address both economic inequality and climate change.

Reduce plastic waste

Pledge to reduce plastic waste

Protect Wolves!

Restoring wolves nationwide: a campaign by Center for Biological Diversity

Sunrise Movement

For the first time in our lives, we have a fighting chance to stop climate change.

Justice Democrats

Let's rebuild a Democratic Party that fights for a clear progressive vision.

Save bees!

One in every three bites of food we eat depends on bees and other pollinators.

Our Revolution

Campaigns end. Revolutions endure.


350 is the most important number in the world. It's the safe line for our global climate and a start line for a global movement.

Jim Carrey's vision for America

Art and visionary messages by Jim Carrey.

Bernie Sander's Vision for America

Bernie Sander's Vision for a Socialist America


An action plan to kick out lawmakers beholden to the gun lobby.

21st Century Vision for America

A 21st Century Vision for America: Guiding Principles for a Great Nation

Brand New Congress

It's time for a Brand New Congress

Indivisible Guide

We’re not the leaders of this movement: you are.

Fight for 15

1,000s of workers. 100s of cities. 1 movement. $15 and a union.


Join the Movement for a People's Party! The country is beyond ready for a new nationally viable progressive party.


Fighting for a fair future: We are proud to step up the fight for immigrant rights, affordable health care, and core American values — as NextGen America.

Healthy lands, healthy bodies equals a strong nation. It's time to move beyond meat and towards a sustainable (and tasty!) future.

Saving Capitalism

Robert Reich examines America’s fragile democracy and its fight for survival; as income and wealth go to the top, more Americans are left behind. Now it’s up to those ordinary Americans to change the rules.

The Green Plate

The road to a better you -- and better nation -- starts on your plate.

The benefits of public wildlands, explained

Time for Action

Gov. Jay Inslee: It's time for action on climate change

Jeremy Rifkin

Economist Jeremy Rifkin presents an inspiring vision the future and hopeful narrative for the human race.

Vision for America

See more visionary ideas posted on Vision for America!

A 21st Century Vision for America is a document that describes our country as most Americans would want it to be. It envisions an America that cares about people, protects our rights, provides opportunity for all, nurtures its lands and waterways, and serves as a good global citizen. This America serves as a beacon and model to the rest of the world, reminding everyone of what is possible when people of good will come together to do what is right.


Status Coup
Common Cause
NoRA Now
Our Revolution
Democracy Now!
Citizens Take Action
Socialist Alternative
Real Progressives
Bill Moyers & Company
Swing Left
The Free Thought Project
Redacted Tonight
Green Party US
Defenders of Wildlife
The Resistance
Center for Biological Diversity
Mother Jones
Common Dreams
libertarian Party
The American Prospect
Daily Kos
The Progressive
In These Times
The Nation
Brand New Congress
Ron Paul Institute
Counter Punch
The Jimmy Dore Show
PR Watch
Huff Post Voices
Nation of Change
liberty tree foundation
mercy for animals
farm sanctuary
Code Pink
Earth Justice
League of Conservation Voters
People's Defense
Democracy for America
Standup America!
Every voice
People for the American Way
Ultra Violet
Working Families
Lambda Legal
Town Hall Project
NextGen Climate
The Laura Flanders Show
Emerge America
Backbone Campaign
Run For Something
The Nation Institute
the investigative fund
Tom Dispatch
Run For Office
Let America Vote
Justice Democrats
Environment America
Food and Water Action Fund
The Action Network
Vox The Big Idea
Wilderness Society
Yes! Magazine
Progress Media
Education Votes
People's Party
Roots Action
Fight for 15
Global Citizen
The Revelator
Open Democracy
Crowd Justice
Climate Desk
Defend Our Future
Southern Poverity Law Center
Netroots Nation
We Are Survivors Foundation
Sunrise Movement
Late Night with Seth Meyers
Real Justice
The Climate Lemon
The Lincoln Project
Vision for America is providing the above links not as explicit endorsement but for the sake of democracy and hearing all voices.#VisionForAmerica