Hamilton County Board of Elections

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.

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.

The Big Story

May 17, 2013

The Hamilton County Board of Elections recently had another meeting pertaining to cases of voter fraud.  WVXU's Ann Thompson speaks with Maryanne Zeleznik about those meetings.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

The Hamilton County Board of Elections is referring two people to the prosecutor's office for possible illegal voting, but the bigger question appears to be whether more than three dozen people who each voted a provisional ballot and absentee ballot are in the wrong.
 

So far, during the months of investigation into alleged voter fraud in the 2012 election, the two Republicans and two Democrats on the Hamilton County Board of Elections have, for the most part, played nice, with partisan bickering down to a minimum.


That could change very quickly Wednesday morning, when the board of elections next meets.


That’s when the board will take up the issue of whether to refer more cases of alleged “voter  anomalies” – that is the polite word they have been using for cases of alleged voter fraud – to the Hamilton County prosecutor.

Three more persons have been indicted by a Hamilton County grand jury on charges of illegally voting in the November 2012 election, bringing the number charged with vote fraud up to six so far.


Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced the indictments Tuesday, saying, if convicted, they face the possibility of up to 18 months in prison.


They were among six cases referred to the prosecutor by the Hamilton County Board of Elections so far in a widespread investigation of vote fraud in last fall’s election.


The three indicted Tuesday are:

Ann Thompson / WVXU

The Madisonville Recreation Center poll worker accused of voting twice, and casting ballots for seven other people in possibly three different elections, was not ready to enter a guilty plea on Wednesday.

Melowese Richardson, when interviewed  by WCPO a few months ago, said she didn't do anything wrong.

On Wednesday, before Hamilton County Judge Robert Ruehlman, her attorney said she wasn't ready to issue a plea.

So, is the election system in Hamilton County rife with fraud, with people voting twice and voting from fictitious locations and even casting ballots for dead people?


Well, yes and no.
 

Over the past several months, the Hamilton County Board of Elections has investigated dozens of cases of what they have called “voter anomalies.” But not enough to change the results of the election; and apparently not in any organized way.

Republicans and Democrats on the Hamilton County Board of Elections are split over a county prosecutor’s opinion which says dozens of voters who cast two ballots in last year’s election should be referred for potential criminal prosecution – even though the board has already exonerated most of them.
 

Near the end of a board meeting that last three-and-a-half hours Wednesday, the two Democrats and two Republicans on the board discussed  an opinion from Prosecutor Joe Deters, but decided not to actually vote on whether  approximately 67 cases should be sent to the prosecutor.

A Cincinnati nun is being investigated for illegally casting an absentee ballot for another Sister of Charity who died before last November's election. 

Sister Rose Marie Hewitt, a 78-year-old Sister of Charity, died Oct. 4 - the same day the Hamilton County Board of Elections mailed her absentee ballot and about 60,000 others to persons around the county who had requested them.

Four Democratic members of Cincinnati City Council plan to go to the Hamilton County Board of Elections this afternoon to cast their ballots for President Obama, in an event aimed at encouraging early voting.

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls and council members Yvette Simpson, Wendell Young and Laure Quinlivan will be at the board of election at 824 Broadway downtown at 4 p.m. today - only hours after GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney makes an appearance at a machine milling plant in Bond Hill.

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