PDT Staff Writer
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says he is forwarding 20 cases of double-voting to the office of Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Thursday Husted released the first ever statewide report on voter fraud based on a review of cases by Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections and the Secretary of State’s office following the 2012 Presidential Election.
Husted said, to date, 135 cases have been referred to law enforcement for further investigation and possible prosecution. This includes 20 individuals Husted referred to DeWine Thursday who are registered to vote in Ohio and another state, and who appear to have cast ballots in each this past November. These cases were identified as a result of Ohio’s voluntary involvement in the Interstate Crosscheck Program – a consortium of 22 states seeking to improve overall elections integrity.
“This report demonstrates that voter fraud does exist; but it is not an epidemic,” Husted said. “More importantly, our effort to look into irregularities and root out voter fraud sends a strong message that no amount of fraud is acceptable. If you cheat, you will be caught and held accountable.”
In January 2013, Husted issued Directive 2013-01, instructing all county boards of elections to have a process in place to review substantiated allegations of voter fraud or voter suppression. Boards were directed to refer potential legal violations to law enforcement for further investigation and possible prosecution. The counties are in various stages of their processes; however at this point in time, boards of elections have identified and reported 625 cases of voting irregularities statewide. Based on reports from the counties, no voters were denied ballots and zero referrals have been made as a result of voters claiming suppression.
“We had no cases at all,” Scioto County Board of Elections Director Julia Gearheart said. “There were no cases reported out of Scioto County.”
County boards of elections have referred voters to local law enforcement for double voting, voting for other people (including for those who had passed away before Election Day) and for voting from an address from which they were not eligible. Husted said it is worth noting that in a majority of the cases in which a voter was found to have cast multiple ballots in Ohio, only one of those ballots was ultimately counted.
“While it is apparent that incidents of voter fraud have occurred and we must remain vigilant, it is also clear that the safeguards we have in place worked in the majority of these cases,” Husted said.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.