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updated: 2/26/2014 6:10 AM

Cook County registers 5,400 new teen voters

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Associated press

Cook County election officials say more than 3,400 suburban Chicago 17-year-olds have registered to vote in the March primary.

In a news release, Cook County Clerk David Orr's office says a voter registration drive resulted in those 17-year-olds and another 2,000 suburban 18-year-old high school students registered to vote.

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The 17-year-olds will be allowed to vote thanks to a new state law that allows teenagers who will turn 18 by the time of the November election to cast a ballot in the spring primary. Lawmakers had pushed the initiative that made Illinois the 20th state to allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries in an effort to expand participation in the electoral process.

As part of the countywide registration effort, Orr's office contacted all 89 suburban high schools.

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