Ohio Secretary of State investigates non-citizen votes


DARKE COUNTY — A review of Ohio’s voter rolls shows that 821 non-citizens registered to vote during the past five years, according to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office.

His office identified an additional 385 non-citizens registered to vote in Ohio, 82 of whom have been identified as having voted in at least one election. In all, a total of 821 non-citizen voters in The Buckeye State have been identified as having registered to vote, with 126 of those actually casting ballots in elections.

Secretary Husted is the first of Ohio’s chief elections officials to initiate a review of Ohio’s Statewide Registered Voter Database (SWRVD) to identify non-citizens on the voter rolls. This is the third review Husted has conducted.

“In light of the national discussion about illegal voting it is important to inform our discussions with facts. The fact is voter fraud happens, it is rare and when it happens, we hold people accountable,” Secretary Husted said.

As Husted has done following similar reviews of the SWRVD in 2013 and 2015, those 82 non-citizens that are registered to vote and have cast ballots will be immediately referred to law enforcement for further investigation and possible prosecution.

The 303 registered voters identified as non-citizens who have not cast a ballot will be sent letters both informing them that non-citizens are not eligible to vote and requesting that they cancel their registration. A follow-up letter will be sent to any individuals that still remain on the rolls after 30 days. Any non-citizens identified that remain on the rolls after being contacted twice will then be referred to law enforcement.

The occurrence of non-citizens registering to vote is predominant in Ohio’s more populous counties, such as Franklin (92 total), Cuyahoga (61), Hamilton (22), and Summit (17).

Even in some less-populous Ohio counties, the Secretary of State’s office has uncovered such incidents, including in Darke County, where it was reported one non-citizen had both registered and voted in a past election.

Darke County Board of Elections Director Luke Burton confirmed his office was aware of the Secretary of State’s report and that he believed the individual in question may have voted in the 2012 election, and then only once.

“It is important to note that this could be someone who voted several years ago,” he said. “We are constantly working to keep our voter registration rolls up to date and accurate.”

To track down non-citizen voters, the Secretary of State’s office used information provided by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) as applicants are required to provide documentation of their legal presence with their application for a state identification or drivers’ license. The non-citizens were identified by the Secretary of State’s Office using a double confirmation process, which requires a registered voter to have provided documentation to the BMV themselves indicating that they are a non-U.S. Citizen two times before being flagged.

“I have a responsibility to preserve the integrity of Ohio’s elections system,” Husted said. “When you consider that in Ohio we have had 112 elections decided by one vote or tied in the last three years, every case of illegal voting must be taken seriously and elections officials must have every resource available to them to respond accordingly.”

The Secretary of State’s office noted that none of the cases where a non-citizen is shown to have cast a ballot occurred in jurisdictions where an election was decided by one vote or tied.

A report issued by the Ohio Secretary of State shows 821 non-citizens have registered to vote in the past five years. One non-citizen reportedly registered and voted in Darke County in an election during that time.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/web1_board-of-elections-002-PRINT.jpgA report issued by the Ohio Secretary of State shows 821 non-citizens have registered to vote in the past five years. One non-citizen reportedly registered and voted in Darke County in an election during that time. Erik Martin | The Daily Advocate

By Erik Martin

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The writer may be reached at 937-569-4314. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com

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