SCIOTO — A Facebook post claiming a potential for voter fraud that received more than 20 shares caught the attention of the Scioto County Board of Elections , saying the photos and caption were inaccurate.
“It is unfortunate for the pictures that are being shared do not show that there are two people loading these ballots in a vehicle that is parked at the curb to be taken to the post office for delivery,” said the elections board in a released statement.
Visiting the county courthouse Oct. 5 to register his son to vote, Russell Slone, the posting individual, said that ballots were left unattended for at least 10 minutes.
“Anyone could have walked by and took them,” said Slone through Facebook messenger. “Who knows how long they were there before I got there.”
When Slone left the courthouse, he saw people loading the ballots into a S.U.V. In a situation that he described as “very ugly looking,” Slone did not believe they were with the post office since none were in uniform.
Several reported instances, including the recent incident in Franklin County where the The Associated Press reported nearly 50,000 voters received the wrong ballots, has Slone worried about the security of the 2020 election.
President Donald Trump joined him in his concern, tweeting Friday that it was evident of a “rigged election,” a claim that he has made repeatedly. In total, 49,669 or 6% of the county’s registered voters were mailed incorrect ballots.
“Mr. President, it certainly was a serious mistake, but a serious mistake that we’re working hard to make right,” replied the Franklin County Board of Elections to his tweet. “Our board is bipartisan, and our elections are fair. And every vote will be counted.”
In a released statement, FCBOE said replacement ballots will be sent to the affected voters and protective measures are in-place to ensure a voter can only cast one vote.
The ballots involved in this scenario were absentee ballots, which many in Scioto County and Ohio are voting through this election. As of Oct. 9, SCBOE’s absentee report generation shows 10,578 records, which is already more than data from the 2012 and 2016 elections.
While Slone and Trump fear rampant voter fraud this election, especially with mail-in voting, SCBOE Director Julia Gearheart said in a previous interview that this should not be a real concern for voters.
“We are not concerned about voter fraud. We have a lot of safe havens in place to prevent that,” she said. “I have never seen it and I’ve been here for a long time.”
As reported earlier by the Portsmouth Daily Times, voter fraud in the county and Ohio is quite rare and violators can be charged with a fourth degree, serving anywhere from six to 18 months in prison.
The Ohio Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights stated in a 2018 report that four cases were brought to legal action out of the 9 million votes cast in the 2002 and 2004 elections in the state.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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