17-year-olds who voted in Dane County primary facing discipline

Bernie Sanders' social media posts for dozens of instances in which 17-year-olds managed to vote in last year's state presidential primary.

Wisconsin Elections Commission staff examined voter fraud referrals municipal clerks said they made to prosecutors following the 2016 spring primary and general elections.

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.

A commission report found that as many as 70 teenagers in almost 30 Wisconsin counties voted illegally in the April election. The teenagers were likely encouraged to go to the polls by messages flying around social media during the spring primary season saying 17-year-olds can vote in some states as long as they turn 18 before the November election, the report said.

Sanders won the Democratic primary, while Texas Senator Ted Cruz took the Republican contest.

"We are not blaming the Sanders campaign specifically". Brown County referred what the report called "multiple" 17-year-olds to prosecutors.

Four of the teens in those cases have agreed to deals to defer prosecution, Ozanne said.

Commission Chairman Mark Thomsen told the panel during a meeting Tuesday that Bernie Sanders' campaign blurred the laws between the states in its social media and Sanders should take responsibility for that. "It is possible that some Wisconsin 17-year-olds saw that and did not understand it did not apply to them". Thomsen, Jacobs and Glancey are all Democrats. District attorneys in counties with the most underage voters told The Associated Press they chose not to charge them because they genuinely believed they could vote and didn't intend to commit fraud.

Ozanne said he hasn't decided whether to charge the remaining three teens. The state ultimately voted for Trump in the November general election, marking the first time a Republican presidential candidate had won Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

The cases have been referred from local elections officials to district attorneys. He declined to comment on whether he felt the teens intentionally tried to commit fraud.

A WEC report indicates almost 70 cases of underage voters casting a ballot were referred to prosecutors, which Magney said is a larger number than they have seen before. They told poll workers their ages and were still allowed to cast ballots, Lasee said.

  • Larry Hoffman