voter fraud

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about President Trump's Elections Integrity Commission and its demand that all 50 states turn over personal information on voters. 

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about President Trump's claims that three to five million people voted illegally in the November 2016 election, a claim that has been refuted by Republicans and Democrats alike. 

It's rather a challenge to choose the most egregious and patently false "alternative fact" to come out of the Trump administration since its inception, but the one the president laid on Congressional leaders in a meeting last week may take the cake.

But it's early.

President Trump – who lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes but won the Electoral College – repeated his apparently long-held belief that three to five million "illegal votes" cost him the popular vote.

The Hamilton County Board of Elections has identified a dozen voter registration forms filed by the campaign to legalize marijuana that may be fraudulent.

And, election officials say, they are examining hundreds more filed by The Strategy Network, a company headed by Ian James, who is also running ResponsibleOhio, the campaign for Issue 3, which would legalize marijuana.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted
State of Ohio

Secretary of State Jon Husted has said several times that voter fraud is rare but it exists – and that’s why he says he reviews the voting rolls in Ohio’s 88 counties.

Husted has found hundreds who shouldn’t be registered to vote, and wants the federal government to help him find more.

Some of them are in southwest Ohio.

Husted’s latest review found 145 non-citizens registered to vote, with 27 of them actually casting ballots. This brings the total number of non-citizens registered in Ohio to 436, out of about 7.7 million registered voters.

A poll worker at an Avondale polling place who is alleged to have voted twice last in November’s election has been referred to the Hamilton County prosecutor for possible prosecution.

The county board of elections – two Democrats and two Republicans - voted unanimously Tuesday to send the case of veteran poll worker Ellen Duncan of Avondale to the prosecutor.

Howard Wilkinson

Sixty-two people will be stricken from the Hamilton County voter rolls because they did not respond to a board of elections letter challenging their voting addresses.

They include police officers, people who used postal service and private mail boxes, and some who voted from a motor coach association in Newtown.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted
State of Ohio

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.

Ohio Attorney General website

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.

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.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted
State of Ohio

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.

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.

  Hamilton County’s investigation of voter fraud from the last election has created a controversy between those who say fraud cases have been overblown for political purposes and those who feel anyone who purposely casts an illegitimate ballot should be prosecuted.

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.

Maryanne Zeleznik speaks with Howard Wilkinson about voter fraud in Hamilton County and other parts of Ohio.

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.

Maryanne Zeleznik is joined by Howard Wilkinson and Tana Weingartner to discuss some of the latest newws stories.

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."

Howard Wilkinson

Melowese Richardson, the Madisonville poll worker accused for voting illegally for herself and others over three elections, entered no contest pleas in court this morning to four of the eight charges against her.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman accepted the plea bargain reached between Richardson's attorney and assistant county prosecutor William Anderson and found Richardson guilty of four counts of illegal voting.

The other four counts were dismissed.

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.

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.

A 75-year-old Symmes Township man charged with illegally casting an absentee ballot for his deceased wife last fall has asked a Hamilton County Common Pleas Court judge to place him in a diversion program, thus avoiding jail time.

Russell Glossop was charged with voter fraud after mailing in an absentee for his wife, Betty Ann Glossop, who died on Oct. 1 last year. She had requested an absentee ballot in August. The absentee ballots were not mailed out until Oct. 4, three days after her death.

Glossop is one of three persons charged with voter fraud.