Fairbanks Democratic Rep. Grier Hopkins has joined with Alaska Teacher of the Year Amy Gallaway, of Fairbanks, in bringing forward a bill that would allow young Alaskans to preregister to vote before they reach legal voting age.

The bill would allow Alaskans ages 16 and up to preregister to vote. The registration would kick in 90 days before the individual turns 18. The goal of the bill is to increase civic engagement with Alaska’s youth, Hopkins notes. 

“This bill helps lay the foundation for the next generation to learn the process,” Hopkins said. “I’m excited to see the spark this bill will provide to young Alaskans and hope it inspires future voters and creates an electorate that is more engaged and informed.”

Gallaway, who teaches at West Valley High School, also noted her support for the bill.

“Allowing early registration will enable teachers, families, and communities to teach voting skills, demystify our process, and empower students to use their most valuable right responsibly,” she said in a written statement. 

Preregistration exists in some form in 23 other states and Washington, D.C. 

Hopkins introduced House Bill 250 this week. The bill has been referred to the House State Affairs and Judiciary committees. 

Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.