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updated: 2/21/2014 4:15 PM

About 8,000 Illinois 17-year-olds register to vote

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois election officials say nearly 8,000 17-year-olds have registered to vote in the March primary.

Under a new law, teenagers who will be 18 by the time of the November election may cast a ballot in the spring primary.

Rupert Borgsmiller, director of the Illinois State Board of Elections, said Friday that 7,867 registrations came in from eligible 17-year-olds.

Registration for the March 18 primary closed Tuesday. But teenagers may still indicate their preferences through grace-period voting, which runs through March 15.

Lawmakers who pushed the initiative said it would expand participation in the electoral process.

Illinois is the 20th state to allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries.

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