Fayette County Board of Elections discusses Ohio voter fraud

By Ashley Bunton - abunton@civitasmedia.com

The Ohio Secretary of State’s most recent non-citizen voter report was discussed by members of the Fayette County Board of Elections during a meeting Thursday.

The non-citizen voter report was released Monday by the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office. The office looked at the voter registrations filed with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles in each county. This was done in all of Ohio’s 88 counties, and is a report that the secretary’s office has issued in 2015 and 2013.

The newest report for 2017 discovered that 385 people across the state registered to vote but had indicated to the BMV that they were not a U.S. citizen. Of those 385 people, 82 of those had actually cast a ballot in a recent election. This newest figure was added to the reports from 2015 and 2013, bringing the total of non-citizens registering to vote to 821, with 126 having cast a ballot in at least one election.

For the 2017 report, which states that 385 non-citizens in Ohio were registered to vote, there was one person from Fayette County. This person had registered to vote but when asked at the BMV, “Are you a U.S. Citizen?” had checked “no.”

Why this person registered to vote but then told the BMV that they were not a U.S. citizen is unclear.

Fayette County Board of Elections Director Beth Ann Snyder said that they have no way of knowing who that one person was. It is possible that the board will receive more direction from the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office on how to proceed in the matter, but said the Secretary of State’s Office will be sending out a letter to that person.

The Record-Herald recently reached out to the Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office and asked if Husted had received any information or evidence that would support President Donald Trump’s claim that “millions” voted illegally during the presidential election.

Joshua Eck, press secretary for Jon Husted, responded to those questions via email and indicated that voter fraud is rare.

In Eck’s response he wrote, “Secretary Husted’s goal in producing this report is to present the facts behind non-citizen voting, as he stated in his press statement, ‘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.’”

According to Snyder, the report showed that the one person who registered to vote in Fayette County but who had indicated to the BMV that they were a non-citizen did not even attempt to vote in the last election.

Fayette County Board of Elections board member Dan Roberts said that the board works very hard to make sure that no one votes illegally.

“From working within this organization, our personnel take pain-staking effort to ensure all votes are from eligible voters,” said Roberts. “Every vote is important.”

Board member Judy Craig added that only 82 people who were registered to vote but told the BMV they were non-citizens had actually cast a ballot in a recent election, and said the board had no reason to believe that there were “millions” who voted illegally in the last election.

“The Ohio Secretary of State’s Office is working to resolve all of that,” said Craig.

Snyder said that the one person in Fayette County who reported they were a non-citizen could have made an error when filling out their BMV form by checking “no” when they meant to check “yes.”

“They are going to send out letters, the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, to all of those people in the state depending on what the report said,” said Snyder.

In other old business, the board discussed whether or not there was any update on the voter in Ross County who attempted to vote twice during the general election. The person was registered to vote in Fayette County but had recently moved to Ross County. On Election Day, the person voted provisionally in Ross County but then drove to Fayette County and voted in-person.

The board of elections in Ross and Fayette counties confirmed that only one of the person’s votes counted in the general election. When questioned by the Ross County Sheriff’s Office, the person reportedly said that they cast a provisional ballot and upon learning that the ballot would be counted later, drove to vote in-person so that their vote would “count.”

The matter was turned over to the Ross County Prosecutor’s Office. The office confirmed that they are investigating the matter but no further updates have been released.

Another issue of old business the board discussed was the voter registration for one person that has been challenged by a Fayette County resident.

According to the board, a man came into the Fayette County Board of Elections and said that he had received a confirmation mailer from the board to confirm his address for a man who did not live with him. The man who returned the mailer to the board said that he has lived at his residence his entire life and that he has no idea who the man is who used his address.

The board has been investigating the matter in an attempt to find the man who registered with that address. So far, the board has been unable to locate the man. He reportedly used a phone number that went to a church in Dayton.

Board member Robin Beekman said that the board should continue to investigate and to find a way to flag the man’s voter registration so that if he goes to the polls to vote again, he can be stopped and questioned. Board members agreed that this was an appropriate course of action and are looking into the matter further.

Additional business discussed by the board at March’s Fayette County Board of Elections meeting will be reported in future editions of the Record-Herald. Look for more news next week concerning the implementation of E-polls in the upcoming primary/special election.

The next board meeting is scheduled for April 12 at 10 a.m.


By Ashley Bunton


Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton

Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton