In politics, if you have the numbers, you get to make the rules.
In Ohio, the Republicans have the numbers – they control both the Ohio House and Senate, they have one of their own in the governor’s office, John Kasich, and a Republican as the state’s chief elections officer, Secretary of State John Husted.
What Kasich, Husted and the legislature have done in recent weeks is to wield that power to make some rather big changes in the early voting system Ohio has used since 2006.
The Democrats on the Hamilton County Board of Elections have asked the Ohio Secretary of State and Ohio Attorney general to investigate whether county prosecutor Joe Deters voted improperly in the November 2012 election.
Democrats Tim Burke, the board of elections chairman, and board member Caleb Faux asked for the investigation after the two Republicans on the board of elections, Alex Triantafilou and Chip Gerhardt, refused to allow the matter to be discussed at a board of elections meeting.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says that with the help of Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections, his office has virtually eliminated duplicate registrations from the state’s voter registration data base.
In a release Tuesday, Husted said there were more than 340,000 duplicate registrations when he took office in Jan. 2011. Today, he said, out of about 7.7 million registered voters, there are only four remaining.
So far, only one of the 20 cases of alleged voter fraud referred by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to the Ohio Attorney General’s office has resulted in a criminal conviction – that of a northern Kentucky woman who pleaded guilty to voting in Butler County last fall.
According to court records, 58-year-old Kim Trombetta of Newport entered a guilty plea in a Butler County court in June to a misdemeanor charge of falsification and was fined $1,000. Trombetta was told the fine would be reduced to $500 if she did 50 hours of community service.