Identification Did Not Stop Election Problems

Secretary of State Jon Husted released a press report on problems in the 2012 Presidential election with 135 cases referred to law enforcement for follow up.  There were 5.6 million voters in Ohio, and in the six months since the election they found 135 people who may have done something illegal.  This includes 20 people who may have voted in multiple states.   Here is the crucial information from the Husted's press release

County boards of elections have referred voters to local law enforcement for double voting, voting for other people (including for those who had passed away before Election Day) and for voting from an address from which they were not eligible. It is worth noting that in a majority of the cases in which a voter was found to have cast multiple ballots in Ohio, only one of those ballots was ultimately counted.

There are no real details in this release of information.  It is just a chart with all 88 counties listed and  their results of the search of their voters to see if there was any irregularities.   There are no specifics and not even an explanation of what they were looking for specifically.   I could not find one piece of information on the Cuyahoga County website on these referrals to the Attorney General, which is strange since the largest number of referrals came from Cuyahoga County.   15 of the referrals came from Cuyahoga County matched only by Delaware County in referrals to the Attorney General for further investigation.   It was strange that Lorain County reported that there were 147 in their County with only 625 total irregularities in the whole state.   What does "voting from an address from which they were not eligible" mean exactly?  Does this mean if a person moved in July 2012 but did not inform the Board of Elections then voted by provisional ballot on Election Day?  

I will bet that in the end there will be around one dozen actual crimes that occured in the last election.   But by the time the smoke clears in a year the story will be long forgotten, and the politicians won't care.  The fact is that the identification provisions of the law did not prevent these "fraud" cases.  They cannot prevent people from voting in two different locations from a previous address.  ID does not prevent people from sending in multiple ballots by mail from multiple locations.  They don't prevent voting by mail for a partner who died.  Most of the mistakes made with people voting multiple times can be prevented without forcing people to show ID.  And most of the mistakes are made through the mail not by in person voting.  Yet, the state has put in place obstacles that create hardship for the voter and not security for the ballot box.

I don't understand why there wasn't a greater emphasis on how secure the vote was in 2012 in this release.  Despite all the talk and surveys about massive fraud, it played no role in the vote.  Out of 5.6 million voters, I am sure that in the end we will see mostly clerical errors.  There will be incorrect sign in at the polling place or incorrect registration information listed because of a the poor penmanship of the voter.  Proving fraud or willful attempts to undermine the one vote per citizen is a hard hill to climb.  There was certainly no attempt to sway the election with only 135 referrals in the entire state of Ohio.  In this day and age it is very difficult to change the vote through multiple voting or fraudulent registrations.  With computer scans and the ability to sort data it is a not easy to get this past a local board of elections.  Most errors are flushed from the system within the first 10 days.  This release proves that the election was secure and most of the activity to protect in-person voting was a waste of time. 

I don't understand how this statement can be justified from the charts that were released, "Based on reports from the counties, no voters were denied ballots and zero referrals have been made as a result of voters claiming suppression."   This could not be teased out from the information submitted by a local board.  Many boards including Cuyahoga County wanted to open every weekend possible, but were denied by the Secretary of State.  This seems like a voter suppression activity.   For the full time worker who does not have a car and does not trust the vote by mail, they are stuck waiting in a long line on the weekend before the election.  This seems like a suppression activity engaged in by the Secretary of State who favored rural county voters over urban and suburban voters.  How would that discouraged voter who did not stick around for the hour and a half wait submit his voter suppression complaint? There were those offensive billboards that went up in African American poorer communities that hinted at voting leading to jail.  These have to be viewed as suppression activities.  Long lines to vote are a form of suppression.  It is more likely that a voter will be discouraged if they show up to vote and there is a line out the door and around the corner.  These are typically local errors, but some of it had to do with the State reducing the time available to early vote in Ohio. 

Brian Davis

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