Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced that his office has identified an additional 385 non-citizens registered to vote in Ohio, 82 of whom have been identified as having voted in at least one election. This brings the total number of non-citizens on Ohio’s voter rolls Secretary Husted has been able to identify using available resources to 821, with 126 of those individuals having actually cast ballots.
Secretary Husted is the first of Ohio’s chief elections officials to initiate a review of Ohio’s Statewide Registered Voter Database (SWRVD) to identify non-citizens on the voter rolls. This is the third review Secretary Husted’s administration has conducted.
“In light of the national discussion about illegal voting it is important to inform our discussions with facts. The fact is voter fraud happens, it is rare and when it happens, we hold people accountable,” Secretary Husted said.
As Secretary Husted has done following similar reviews of the SWRVD in 2013 and 2015, those 82 non-citizens that are registered to vote and have cast ballots will be immediately referred to law enforcement for further investigation and possible prosecution.
The 303 registered voters identified as non-citizens who have not cast a ballot will be sent letters both informing them that non-citizens are not eligible to vote and requesting that they cancel their registration. A follow-up letter will be sent to any individuals that still remain on the rolls after 30 days. Any non-citizens identified that remain on the rolls after being contacted twice will then be referred to law enforcement.
The Secretary of State’s office has been able to identify these non-citizens on the rolls using information provided by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) as applicants are required to provide documentation of their legal presence with their application for a state identification or drivers’ license. The non-citizens were identified by the Secretary of State’s Office using a double confirmation process, which requires a registered voter to have provided documentation to the BMV themselves indicating that they are a non-U.S. Citizen two times before being flagged.
While the process Secretary Husted has implemented using information provided by the BMV has been helpful in working to maintain and protect Ohio’s voter rolls, there are likely additional non-citizens in the SWRVD given the lack of access to more real-time data maintained by the federal government. In February and July of 2015, Secretary wrote then-President Barack Obama requesting that the states be given real-time access to accurate, searchable, electronic databases of non-citizens who have valid Social Security numbers so that they may distinguish between citizens and lawfully-present non-citizens. That same year, Secretary Husted also testified before a congressional committee about how this type of data can be used by the states to properly maintain their respective voter rolls. In the coming weeks, Secretary Husted plans to renew his call for access to this information.
“I have a responsibility to preserve the integrity of Ohio’s elections system,” Secretary Husted said. “When you consider that in Ohio we have had 112 elections decided by one vote or tied in the last three years, every case of illegal voting must be taken seriously and elections officials must have every resource available to them to respond accordingly.”
It should be noted, that none of the cases where a non-citizen is shown to have cast a ballot occurred in jurisdictions where an election was decided by one vote or tied.