COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s elections chief referred for investigation on Wednesday more than 350 apparent non-citizens who either registered to vote or cast a ballot last year.
Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose said that, of those, 77 cast ballots and 277 simply registered. They were identified as part of a routine review.
Ohio does not maintain a comprehensive database of all non-citizens in the state, so LaRose’s office cross-matched voter records against citizenship statuses reported to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
“Thanks to the controls and processes of our election system, both voter fraud and voter suppression are exceedingly rare and certainly not as systemic as some claim,” LaRose said in a statement. “However, neither are ever acceptable — even in rare or isolated instances. The only way to continue this high standard is by committing to enforce the law when it is broken.”
Ohio has more than 8 million registered voters. Ohio does not allow non-citizens to register or vote.
LaRose said he has handed the list of names over to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost for further investigation and potential prosecution.
The League of Women Voters of Ohio plans to request a copy of the list in order to conduct its own review, said executive director Jen Miller. Miller said the group wants to ensure errors like those identified during maintenance of Ohio’s voter rolls this fall have not occurred.
“In the case that some non-citizens did vote, we think this could have been confusion and not mal-intent, and we think this calls for more education on voter eligibility in multiple languages,” she said.