The Fayette County Board of Elections held a special meeting Wednesday, Dec. 7 at the board office in Washington Court House.
The roll was called with board members Robin Beekman, Judy Craig, Myron Priest and Dan Roberts present with Beth Ann Snyder, Fayette County Board of Elections director.
Members discussed the agenda of the meeting to include paying bills, correspondence and directives from the Ohio Secretary of State, along with old and new business from the 2016 general election.
Snyder said that the Fayette County Board of Elections had one person who attempted to vote twice in the 2016 general election. Snyder said a woman who is a resident of Ross County but had previously lived in Fayette County attempted to cast a ballot in both counties on election day.
“She moved from Bloomingburg to Ross County. She did not update her files so she went to Ross County and they said, ‘You’re not registered here but you can vote a provisional ballot,’” said Snyder.
Snyder said the woman cast a provisional ballot in Ross County, but the Ross County Board of Elections told her that the vote would not count until the official count and once it was verified that she was registered.
“She wanted to make sure her vote counted, is what she told the sheriff, so she went to Bloomingburg and voted on election day because her name is still in the Bloomingburg book,” said Snyder.
According to Snyder and Sarah Williamson, the Ross County Board of Elections director, only one ballot cast by the woman was counted in the general election.
“When [Ross County Board of Elections] called us to verify that she was registered [in Fayette County], the second question you ask, is she registered in Fayette County and did she vote? We said yes, she’s registered, and oh my gosh, yes, she has voted,” said Snyder. “That’s the first time we’ve ever done that. Jamie Teeters [at the Fayette County Board of Elections] found it. She was like, ‘Ah! Is that her signature? This is her signature, right?’ You can’t believe that somebody would do that.”
“In the same day,” said Dan Roberts, board member. “Is it a possibility that when they heard [the provisional vote] is not going to count [until the official], they said, ‘Well I’m going to vote where it does count?’”
“Since our ballot is through, it’s counted, Ross County has the [provisional] ballot that did not count. They’re handling it,” said Snyder. She said the Fayette County Board of Elections let the Fayette County Prosecutor know about the situation.
Snyder said the Ross County Sheriff had talked to the woman one-on-one and had been in contact with the Fayette County Board of Elections.
“They’re handling it, so anything about that would come from Ross County so we don’t need to comment on that,” said Snyder.
Sarah Williamson, Ross County Board of Elections director, said their office turned it over to the office of the Ross County Prosecutor.
“They’re doing the investigation now,” said Williamson in a phone interview Dec. 13. “The vote in Ross County did not count because it was a provisional.”
The Ross County Prosecutor’s Office did not immediately return a call to the Record-Herald for an update on the status of that investigation.
According to the Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 3599, any person in the state of Ohio who attempts to vote more than once in the same election in the state of Ohio is guilty of illegal voting, a felony of the fourth degree.
Illegal voting is not common in the county. A case was filed with the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas in January after a Fayette County resident attempted to vote twice in the 2015 general election. Danielle R. Trende, 38, had mailed in an absentee ballot to the Fayette County Board of Elections in October and then showed up at the polls Nov. 3, 2015 to cast another vote, which was not counted.
It was the only person who attempted to vote twice in the 2015 general election in Fayette County, according to the Fayette County Board of Elections.
Trende told the court that she was confused and had mistakenly thought that her second attempted to vote in the 2015 general election was for president. She plead guilty to illegal voting in April and was placed into the diversion in lieu of conviction program in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas.
Other business discussed during the Fayette County Board of Elections meeting included making a motion to fix a broken blind at the Bloomingburg voter precinct. Board members agreed that Bloomingburg will purchase the blind at a price up to $100 and send the invoice to the Fayette County Board of Elections.
The Fayette County Board of Elections is sending two of the DS200 voting machines in the office for battery repairs, but Snyder said neither of the two machines were used during the election.
“All we used those for was our public test. They never left the building on election day,” said Snyder. She said both of the machines are still covered under warranty.
The board members began to review resume applications for the Fayette County Board of Elections deputy director position that will be vacant in January. Jamie Brooks, the former Fayette County Board of Elections deputy director, will be retiring.
As of Dec. 7, the board said they had received 11 resume applications for the position.
Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton