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17-year-old voters make history in Utah

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jun 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-26 21:29:21-04

 SALT LAKE CITY — Tuesday's Primary Election is extra special for some young, Utah voters. For the first time, 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the November elections are allowed to vote in the Primary Election.

In April, the Utah Legislature passed a new law allowing for eligible 17-year-olds to participate in Primary Elections.

Pahvel Asparouhv is one of the teens who cast his first ballot in Tuesday’s primary by mail.

“I’ve never sent a physical piece of mail before. It felt good," Asparouhv said.

The recent West High graduate hopes young voters will take advantage of this opportunity.

“I think every opportunity you get, you need to participate in the democratic process," Asparouhv said.

Teens like Pavel have voiced their concerns after the Parkland school shooting in Florida by organizing marches on gun reform and rallying the youth to vote.

“If you look at 10 years before now, I think the youth were not paying attention to politics the same way they are now,” said Asparouhv.

It’s a monumental day for another 17-year-old, Saida Dahir.

“When I was three years old, my family fled a refugee camp in Kenya after the civil war in Somalia," Dahir told FOX 13.

Earlier this year, the youth activist and poet rallied on Capitol Hill demanding stricter gun control. On Tuesday, the Dahir, a student at Ames Academy, is taking further action by voting for the first time.

“Teens should go out and vote because we are the future,” Dahir said. “Everything that happens is our responsibility because once we go out into the field we’re going to be directly impacted with the policies and decisions that lawmakers make.”