A report from the Wisconsin Elections Commission shows several dozen 17-year-olds illegally voted in the state’s presidential primary last April.
Commission spokesman Reid Magney said they believe it was a result of those students mistakenly thinking they could vote in the primary if they would turn 18 in time from the general election in November, as a result of information national campaigns posted on social media. While some states do allow voting in primaries under those conditions, Wisconsin is not among them.
A WEC report indicates nearly 70 cases of underage voters casting a ballot were referred to prosecutors, which Magney said is a larger number than they have seen before. Still, he noted it’s only a small portion of the two million votes cast in the hotly contested primary.
There are no indications who those teens voted for in the election. Magney said they also do not know how many of the referrals led to charges being filed, although some of the cases did result in deferred prosecutions. “This is not a case where 17-year-olds were trying to sneak in,” he said.
Those teens likely would have been registering at the polls to vote, which would required them to show an ID with their date of birth on it. Magney said they know some of the teens were able to convince poll workers to let them vote despite only being 17, while it’s also possible poll workers failed to check the date of birth properly. Essentially, Magney said they were able to vote due to human error on the part of poll workers.
The report, which covers all elections in the past year, also shows about a half dozen cases of felons voting illegally, over 100 instances of address verification postcards coming back to clerks as undeliverable, and more than a dozen instances of people voting twice – either by casting a ballot absentee and in-person, or voting in two different municipalities.