Ohio judge to allow 17-year-olds to vote in Tuesday’s primary elections

Some will argue that many adults in America are not informed enough to vote, but an Ohio judge will allow minors to cast a ballot in this year’s presidential primary elections.

In an act that may prove to be a boon for Bernie Sanders, the judge ruled that 17-year-old voters can vote in the state’s presidential primary elections on Tuesday, March 15, if they turn 18 before the fall election, The Associated Press reported.

Nine 17-year-old registered voters sued Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to be able to vote. Sanders, who is favored by many young voters, also filed a federal lawsuit.

At stake was an interpretation by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, of an existing policy that allowed 17-year-olds to weigh in on congressional, legislative and mayoral contenders.

The 17-year-olds must already be registered, and the AP noted that there are more than 16,000 currently registered in the state.

Husted was not thrilled with the decision, saying the timing gives his office “no effective way to responsibly make the changes necessary to implement an orderly election.”

“This last minute legislating from the bench on election law has to stop,” Husted said in a statement. “Our system cannot give one county court the power to change 30 years of election law for the entire state of Ohio, 23 days into early voting and only four days before an election.”

After initially saying he will appeal the ruling, Husted later decided not to fight it, the AP reported.

Brad Deutsch, an attorney for Sanders’ campaign, praised the ruling.

“This is a huge victory for 17-year-olds across Ohio,” he said. “Their votes for presidential nominees will now count when they vote on either Tuesday or over the weekend in early voting.”

Tom Tillison


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