Hamilton County Board of Elections

Hamilton County will pay $883,000 to cover legal fees for Judge Tracie Hunter. That's lower than the $920,514.22 she racked up while suing the Board of Elections and the county's ensuing appeals.

Commission President Chris Monzel says, "We actually got a reduction in the amount based on the promptness of that payment, which helps the taxpayers pay less money. But unfortunately we didn't win the lawsuit and we had to pay."

Fellow Commissioner Todd Portune says the amount is still much higher than it should have been.

The cases of two more voters accused of casting ballots in Ohio while living in other states have been referred by the Hamilton County Board of Elections to the county prosecutor for investigation.

The two are Naomi Lewin, a former classical music host at radio station WGUC, who moved to New York City in 2009 and Timothy A. Merman, who owns a home in Edgewood, Ky., but has voted from a business address in the Cincinnati suburb of Fairfax.

Voting from an improper address is a felony crime.

The Hamilton County Board of Elections is warning approximately 100 persons suspected of voting from false addresses, including about 30 police officers from around the county: fix the problem or be dropped from the voting rolls.

The board voted unanimously Monday morning to send out the letters giving the persons 30 days to register under their correct addresses.

The police officers, for the most part, used their police stations as their voting addresses, according to a board of elections investigation.

Libertarian Jim Berns, who sent a hand-written letter to the Hamilton County Board of Elections yesterday, saying he was withdrawing from the Cincinnati mayor's race, told the board today that he wants to be a candidate again. 

But, board officials say, there is a legal question over whether Berns could withdraw from the race in the first place.

Tim Burke, the chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, told WVXU that the board's lawyer told the board there is no provision in the Cincinnati city charter allowing candidates to withdraw.

Early voting for the September 10 Cincinnati mayoral primary begins on Tuesday, Aug. 6.

Persons who want to cast early absentee ballots can find applications at the Hamilton County Board of Elections website. They are also available at public libraries in Cincinnati and at the board of elections offices.

In-person early voting at the board offices at 824 Broadway downtown will begin the same day.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Melowese Richardson, the former Madisonville poll worker found guilty on four counts of voter fraud, was sentenced Wednesday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. 

Calling her "nothing more than a common criminal," Judge Robert Ruehlman gave Richardson five years in prison for voting twice for herself and three times for her sister who has been in a coma since 2003.

The Hamilton County Board of Elections challenged 96 voters who apparently have incorrect addresses listed on their registration forms or list dwellings that no longer exist.

But only 20 of those voters are active voters; the rest have not voted in recent years.

Marlene Kocher, a volunteer from the Ohio Voter Integrity Project, a tea party organization looking into potential voter fraud statewide, submitted a list of 127 names to the board of elections - all west of Interstate 75 in the city of Cincinnati.

Two more persons suspected of illegal voting in the November 2012 election were referred to the Hamilton County prosecutor Monday morning by the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

Referred to the prosecutor were Lakeisha M. Watkins, a 41-year-old woman who cast a provisional ballot in Colerain precinct  W on election day and then voted in her former precinct, Colerain GG. Board of Elections officials tried to contact the woman and was told that she lives in Boston.

Ohio Government Website

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has broken a tie vote on the Hamilton County Board of Elections, sending 39 more cases of persons alleged to have voted twice in the 2012 election to the county prosecutor for possible criminal prosecution.

"These cases should be investigated,'' Husted told WVXU. "It does not necessarily mean people will be indicted and prosecuted. But the elections system does not have the capability to investigate all of these; and the county prosecutor does."

Michael Keating

This week Howard Wilkinson talks about Connie Pillich running for state treasurer and the latest on the voter fraud cases in Hamilton county.