- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Bernard Sanders filed a lawsuit Tuesday to force Ohio to allow 17-year-olds to vote in next week’s primary as long as they will be 18 by the time of November’s general election.

The Sanders campaign accused Secretary of State John Husted of depriving people of voting rights, though the Republican official said Ohio law is clear and the practice customary.

“The secretary of state has decided to disenfranchise people who are 17 but will be 18 by the day of the general election. Those people have been allowed to vote under the law of Ohio, but the secretary of state of the state of Ohio has decided to disenfranchise those people to forbid them from voting in the primary that is coming up on March 15,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told reporters in Detroit, according to CNN.

The Sanders campaign did not immediately provide a copy of the lawsuit to CNN.

Mr. Husted said the issue is more complicated than that, saying that 17-year-olds who will be 18 in November can, and have always been allowed to, vote in party primaries for such offices as senator and governor. In that instance, he said, the teens are merely qualifying someone to run in November, not actually electing an official.

A presidential primary — where formally speaking, one is electing delegates to send to the national convention — is different; the direct election of a person with power, something state law requires a person be 18 to do.

“I welcome this lawsuit and I am very happy to be sued on this issue because the law is crystal clear,” Mr. Husted said in a statement. “We are following the same rules Ohio has operated under in past primaries, under both Democrat and Republican administrations. There is nothing new here. If you are going to be 18 by the November election, you can vote, just not on every issue.”

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