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Kansas House Votes to Bar Teen Candidates in Future Statewide Races

Voters casting ballots in 2012. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

Members of the Kansas House voted Tuesday to tighten requirements to run for statewide office. That comes after several teenagers decided to run for governor.

Starting next year, candidates would have to be at least 18 years old and live in Kansas.

Lawmakers debated whether to apply the rules to the 2018 election, but decided against that approach. Republican Representative Tom Cox said it sets a dangerous precedent to change the rules part way through an election cycle.

“Anything that would remove someone from a ballot is, in my opinion, one of the most undemocratic things we can do," Cox said. "I think that we need to protect the rules and the institutions.”

Supporters of tightening the rules say some of the teenage candidates seem to be running as a stunt. They say young people can find other ways to be involved in politics until they reach voting age.

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