Voting age change is on the books
Going after the youth vote has new meaning in Illinois.
If only our state legislators were as good at solving real problems — principally, the state's horrendous financial state — as they are at solving non-problems.
It's probably too much to ask. It's not hard for legislators to address a non-problem, and few people care if they don't because it hardly matters. But those real problems can be killers.
At any rate, those people who were worried that not enough young people have a chance to participate in the election process can rest easy.
The General Assembly has passed and Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation allowing some 17-year-olds the right to vote in primary elections. The new law applies only to those 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the general election.
In most cases, that means those who are 17 at the time of the March primary in Illinois will be able to vote in the primary if they will turn 18, the legal voting age, by the November general election.
Time was when age 17 was actually 17, making one ineligible to vote in elections where the minimum voting age was 18. Now, apparently, close counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and voting in Illinois.
State Sen. Terry Link, a Vernon Hills Democrat, said he was motivated to push the legislation because of his own disappointment at being denied the opportunity to vote in a primary election when he was just 17. Or perhaps he just didn't have anything better to do with his time in Springfield.
The right to vote, of course, is a precious thing, and it's difficult to oppose relatively innocuous measures like this that purport to encourage young people to take an active role in civic affairs.
But with rights come responsibilities — in this case the responsibility to study the issues and cast informed votes. In that regard, young voters can't do much worse than many older ones.
But, if nothing else, perhaps they can encourage their elected officials to address important, but difficult, issues as well as easy stuff that doesn't amount to much.