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For the first time in Illinois, most of the state’s 17-year-olds had the chance to cast ballots in this year’s primary elections. Their participation was the result of a bill passed by the General Assembly in 2013. HB 226 opened up voting to 17-year-olds who will turn 18 before the general election. According to the Chicago Tribune, the measure received widespread bipartisan support, with proponents saying it would encourage young people to get involved in the political process.

Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and North Dakota are all set to hold primaries or caucuses in the first two months of the new year.

States need to be aware that the budget crisis for state and local governments is likely to put the 2012 presidential election—and beyond—more at risk than at any time since the 2000 election. Despite the successes of each election cycle in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010, severe budget constraints have the potential to cause voting concerns in 2012. Actions, if taken soon, can lessen the strain on state and local governments. Changes in state election laws and practices can result in temporary and/or permanent savings for both state and local election offices. Some federal mandates will trigger greater expenses for both near-term and long-term future decisions.

The National Popular Vote Compact continues to gain momentum in the current legislative session as legislatures debate the merits of a bill which aims to change the method in which the President of the United States is elected.

The Delaware House recently approved the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.  Delaware is seeking to gain a stronger voice in presidential elections given their small size and 3 electoral votes.  Although there is some debate whether Delaware’s voice would in fact gain strength if the voting procedure were changed.  Also, on Tuesday the New York Senate passed the compact and is waiting on approval from the Assembly for passage.

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed likes the presidential primary. But this year, he recommended to Gov. Chris Gregoire and the state legislature’s budget writers to cancel the 2012 primary.