Nine 17-year-olds, including one from Toledo, sued Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted Tuesday over his office’s refusal to allow them to vote in the presidential race in next week’s primary election. The lawsuit contends the state’s chief elections officer, a Republican, has misinterpreted state law allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if they will be 18 by the time of the November general election. Mr. Husted determined that because voters are electing convention delegates rather than nominating candidates in the primary, 17-year-olds cannot vote in the presidential race. They can vote in U.S. Senate, state legislative, judicial, and other races on the same ballot in which candidates are nominated, but not elected at this stage.
The suit, filed on the teens’ behalf by the nonpartisan Fair Elections Legal Network in Washington, claims Mr. Husted has confused county boards of elections. Some have allowed 17-year-olds to vote. Others have set those ballots aside with the understanding the presidential votes will not be counted.
Although not a party to the suit, the Ohio Democratic Party applauded it. The League of Women Voters of Ohio has urged Mr. Husted to reconsider his position. The dispute appears to come down to the definition of “nominating” or “electing” presidential delegates.
The suit in Franklin County Common Pleas Court names as plaintiffs seven 17-year-olds from Columbus and one each from Toledo and Kent, Ohio. It seeks a temporary injunction preventing Mr. Husted from enforcing his interpretation of the law in next Tuesday’s election.
Full Article: 17-year-olds sue over voting rights – Toledo Blade.