TRENTON — Seventeen-year-olds in New Jersey will be able to vote in primaries if they'll be 18 by the next general election under legislation signed by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.

New Jersey will join 19 other states and the District of Columbia with similar laws on the books, according to a tally by the National Conference of State Legislatures, though its new law won't take effect until 2026.

Murphy cast the bill signed Thursday as a bolster to democracy.

“We see how the decisions we make today impact future generations. I am proud to sign legislation that expands access to the ballot box while engaging and empowering a new generation of voters," he said in a statement.

The state previously allowed 17-year-olds to register to vote if the person would be 18 at the general election, but the law considered those teens ineligible to vote until they reached their 18th birthday.

The legislation passed mostly along party lines, with Democrats in support and Republicans opposed, though a handful of GOP members voted for the measure.

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