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After teens attempt run for governor in Kansas, lawmakers looking to close loophole

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Posted at 6:22 PM, Feb 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-11 18:22:52-05

If you want to vote in a statewide election in Kansas, you have to prove you are 18 years old. If you want to become the state's governor, you do not have to be 18 years old. 

Jack Bergeson has entered the race for governor in the state, who will only be 17 at the time of November's election. He, along with five other teens in the state, are seeking the top statewide office. 

The biggest requirement for these teens to get elected is to pay a $2,400 fee to get on the ballot. 

Bergerson, who is running as a Democrat, told Scripps station KSHB in Kansas City that he is a serious candidate for the office. 

“I bring a different perspective that most people haven't really thought about,” Bergeson said. “With the younger generation, we have our opinions.”

While lawmakers are not going to stop Bergerson and the other five teenagers from running in 2018, it appears this might be the last time a high schooler could run for state office. According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, the House Elections Committee is set to vote on Monday on a law making the minimum age to run for office 18. 

That bill would then be sent to the full House, and then Senate, for a vote. 

The bill would not go into effect until after the 2018 election. 

“The secretary of state does not want there to be any appearance of a conflict of interest concerning persons who are currently candidates and do not meet these proposed requirements,” Kansas Director of Elections Bryan Caskey told the Capital-Journal.

The secretary of state in Kansas, Kris Kobach, is among those attempting to run for governor this year. 

Not all of the adults in the legislature are convinced there should be a minimum age requirement. 

“Rep. Carpenter, what scares you about the voters of Kansas?” Democrat Vic Miller told the committee, according to the Capital-Journal.

“I’m not afraid of the voters,” Miller added. “The voters will decide who is qualified to serve, and I don’t have a problem with that. And if they don’t want someone who hasn’t lived here for four years, that’s real easy to do. You check the other guy.”

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