As of May 14, 2009 the House of Representatives of the state of Michigan passed Bills 4261 and 4337 proposed by Rep. Lesia Liss, Rep. Robert Jones respectively. These bills are focused on the ability for people ages 16-17 1/2 years old to register to vote when the they apply for their drivers license. The main reason for proposing these bills is to enable people between the ages of 18-24 to be more involved on a voting level within their government.
Studies have been done to showcase why individuals between the ages of 18-24 do not vote as much as older brackets of persons within the United States. FairVote, a non-partisan, non-profit based in Washington D.C. stated that the myth of "young people don't vote" isn't 100% true. Young individuals vote when registered. However, they tend to be registered at much lower rates. From the 2004 election, only 81% of young people registered voted, but only 58% of all young people were registered. Which means 47% of all young people voted.
Supporters for the bills state that it would promote a "culture of paticipation." The purpose is to bring about a generation of habitual voters. FairVote has indicated there is a period of transition between non-voters and habitual voters, which the individuals register, participate, and then continue a pattern of participation. Supporters believe that if registration is earlier that there will be a greater likelihood of voting later.
Opponents fear that the voter pre-registration will increase voter fraud. Additionally, the individuals who pre-register will be in the system for 18 months at its max (16-17 1/2), before being a voter and the opponents believe that this is a lot of time for a person to move around and possibly not be in Michigan. Some opponents believe this bill will create a surge of young people who are not adequately informed to vote, they all say that this could potentially threaten the stability of where these individuals live. Lastly, conservatives believe that the young people tend to vote more liberal than older constituents.
The response of the Elections Bureau in the Department of the State makes it clear that the safest place to register is at a secretary of state branch office, while applying for their driver’s license. Furthermore, the individual pre-registering must provide a birth certificate with his or her age, nationality and residency. The changes of residency are changed automatically since Michigan’s drivers license database is linked to the state’s Qualified Voter File.