According to a report by the Wisconsin Elections Commission, dozens of 17-year-olds voted illegally in the 2016 Wisconsin primary. The report found that the individuals involved believed incorrectly they could vote in the primary if they turned 18 before the November general election. In Wisconsin, Sen. Ted Cruz defeated Donald Trump in the Republican primary, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) defeated Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. However, President Trump won the state in November for the first time for a GOP presidential candidate since 1984.
The elections commission determined that at least 60 cases of 17-year-olds casting votes in the April 2016 primary in 29 counties. However, the report did not ascertain for whom they voted. The commission did not find evidence of underage persons voting in the general election.
Reid Magney, speaking for the commission, said the the voters may have been confused. Messaging in other states encouraged 17-year-olds to vote in the primary races, claiming that they vote so long as they were 18 before Election Day. Magney claimed that it was not a “case of anyone sneaking in. It was a misunderstanding of the law."
Trump has called for a "major investigation" into voter fraud.
Kewaunee County District Attorney Andrew Naze has decided not to prosecute any of the teens to whom clerks referred. He said that they did not intend to break the law. Brown County District Attorney David Lasee has also refrained from prosecuting nine 17-year-olds. Prosecutors in Racine and Rock counties have not yet announced their decision.
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