In Ohio, the District of Columbia, and 21 other states this election year, 17-year-old citizens are allowed to vote in their state’s caucus or primary as long as they turn 18 by the time of the general election in November.
The rule allows thousands of 17-year-olds to participate in the Democratic process of voting for the very first time in their lives, but Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted reversed the rule, revoking the rights of the 17-year-olds from voting in the state’s primary on March 15th. It will be a key battleground state between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary, and among the Republican presidential candidates, as current Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich will try to make his mark on the primaries by winning his home state.
His argument was the primaries were electing delegates who will eventually elect a nominee for their party at a the party conventions later this year. Husted is distorting the language surrounding the rule which allowed 17-year-olds to vote early by alleging the 17-year-olds can nominate a candidate, but not elect one for office.
The Secretary of State before Jon Husted, Jennifer Brunner, allowed 17-year-olds to participate in the 2008 primary election.
” Ohio’s pro-voter practice that welcomes young adults into the process has been on the books since 1981,” said State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) in a statement on Husted’s recent change in the rules. “Secretary Husted’s latest underhanded, backroom attack on our most fundamental freedom should have us all concerned – about this and about his repeated claims he has made it easier to vote in Ohio – when in fact he continues to find ways to make it harder.”
This is not the first time Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has tried to restrict voter access in Ohio. He was sued last year by students for restricting voter rights, put restrictions on early voting in the state, and continues to impede on voters’ rights in the state of Ohio. The right to vote should be facilitated, not restricted, but leave it up to the Republicans to try to make distorted arguments and reasoning for making what should be a no brainer of opening up young people to the Democratic process and encouraging voting, an issue legislators have to waste time arguing over.
Featured image via Addicting Info