*UPDATED AS OF 8 PM, 3/11 Secretary of State Jon Husted has released a statement announcing he will not appeal this decision.*
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 11, 2016
For more information, contact
Rachel Bloomekatz: (c) (614) 551-7196
BREAKING: Judge Frye rules 17-year-old Ohioans’ votes in presidential primary will count
Columbus, OH – Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Richard Frye ruled in favor of nine 17-year-old Ohioans who wanted to ensure their votes counted in the presidential primary. The Court granted the request for a writ of mandamus, ordering Defendant, Secretary of State Jon Husted, to direct the county boards of elections to count the presidential primary votes of all 17-year-old voters who will be 18 on or before the November election.
The Fair Elections Legal Network and Columbus attorney Rachel Bloomekatz, who is joining the firm Gupta Wessler PLLC, filed the case on behalf of the young voters. The ruling means 17-year-olds can now vote in the presidential primary through March 14th and on Election Day March 15th. The Court instructed Secretary Husted to advise the county boards of elections to attempt to determine and record presidential primary votes previously made by 17-year-old early voters if their ballots are identifiable and accessible.
“The students should be proud they stood up and vindicated their right to vote in the presidential primary. I hope Secretary Husted understands that Ohio law provides 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the time of the general election that right, and does not appeal or otherwise interfere,” said counsel, Rachel Bloomekatz. “Engaged, civic-minded young adults are who we want to encourage to participate in our democracy. I hope this ruling provides that encouragement.”
Fair Elections Legal Network counsel Jon Sherman added, “Secretary of State Husted is the first Ohio Secretary of State to tell the county boards of elections to reject the presidential primary votes of 17-year-old voters who turn 18 on or before the general election. This case seeks to make him the last.”
The decision may be appealed to the Tenth District Ohio Court of Appeals.
To see our initial release and press coverage of the case, click here.