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Hundreds of teens registering to vote

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Hundreds of New Mexico teenagers are capitalizing on a new state law that allows 17-year-olds who will be 18 the day of the election in November to vote in the June primary.

More than 800 teens in New Mexico have registered to vote in June, with more than half registering as Democrats, The Santa Fe New Mexican reports. The totals as of Wednesday include 459 Democrats, 210 Republicans and 193 registered as independents or members of a minor party.

New Mexico’s new law, which takes effect on May 18, the day of the primary, puts the state among about 20 states that permit 17-year-olds to cast ballots in party primaries. As the change takes place in a presidential election year, young voters say they are particularly motivated to vote.

Jackson Miller, a senior at Santa Fe High School, said he is excited to vote this year. He not only registered, he has taken a class at the Democratic Party headquarters in Santa Fe County and is now helping register his eligible friends.

“I think that participating in democracy is one of the most important civic duties we have,” Miller said.

Many 17-year-olds said college affordability is their major concern. Don Jaramillo, an 18-year-old senior at Santa Fe High School, said he hopes to leave college with little to no debt, but he has no financial aid. Because New Mexico’s Legislative Lottery Scholarship won’t be applied until his second semester, he said he’s already worried about finding a job on campus.

The deadline to register to vote in state primaries is May 10.

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