5 non-citizens registered to vote in Clark County, didn’t cast ballots

A state investigation found that 5 non-citizens have registered in Clark County in recent years, but none of them have voted.


Reviews of election data by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted found 821 non-citizens, including five in Clark County, have registered to vote in the state over the past five years — 126 of whom cast ballots.

“Voter fraud exists. It’s rare. We hold people accountable when it happens. And we’re trying to build a better system so we can get out in front of this and it doesn’t happen in the future,” Husted told this newspaper on Monday.

The study showed five non-citizens registered to vote in Clark County, but none of those individuals casts votes. There are more than 89,000 people registered to vote here, Board of Elections Director Jason Baker said.

Baker can’t investigate until he has a list of names, he said. If any non-citizens voted in Clark County, Baker would present the issue to the Board of Elections for further discussion, he said. False voter registration is a fifth-degree felony and a conviction can affect their ability to remain in the United States and become citizens.

RELATED: Four Springfield residents will vie for three commission seats

“We take that seriously as well as whoever commits election falsification,” he said.

Upon registering to vote, a person must give their birth date, as well as one of two different identification, including the last four digits of your social security number or a driver’s license number, Baker said.

“If it did happen in Clark County, they would have to have some type of identification to get those documents,” he said.

It’s unclear what the future holds when it comes to registering to vote, especially in light of recent discussions about voter fraud at the federal level, Baker said. Earlier this year, Husted made the process easier with online voter registration, he said.

SPECIAL REPORT: Healthy Springfield

The 821 improper registrations statewide is out of more than 7.8 million registered voters in Ohio. The 126 apparently illegally cast ballots is out of 18.7 million votes cast in statewide primary and general elections held since 2013. In no instances did the non-citizens cast ballots in elections decided by one vote, Husted found.

League of Women Voters of Ohio Executive Director Carrie Davis said the allegations should be put into the proper context.

“In November 2016, Ohio had 7,861,025 registered voters and, of those, 5,607,641 cast ballots in the November election. Husted’s 385 registered amounts to 0.004898 percent of total registered voters, and his alleged 82 votes cast amount to 0.001462 percent of the 5,607,641 total votes cast in November 2016,” Davis said in a written statement.

She also noted that the cases have yet to be investigated by law enforcement or heard in court.

Related: Voter intimidation fears has Ohio elections boards staffing up

The review is standard and not in response to President Donald Trump’s statements that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election, Husted said.

Since 2013, Husted’s office has reviewed election data and Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle records to check against fraud: 291 non-citizens were found on the rolls in 2013 and 145 in 2015 and 385 in 2017.

The 82 found this year to have cast improper ballots will be referred to prosecutors for possible criminal charges. Those who are registered but haven’t voted will receive letters informing them non-citizens cannot vote and asking them to cancel their registration. If they remain on the rolls after receiving two letters, they will be referred to law enforcement.

Husted argues that his office should have wider access to federal data, including records of non-citizens who have valid Social Security numbers.

MORE: Clark County, state voting system should be trusted, Husted says

“This would enable me and my counterparts in other states to prevent illegal registrations, and more importantly, reassure the public that steps have been take to ensure only eligible voters are participating in federal, state and local elections,” Husted said in testimony before Congress in 2015.

Husted, a Republican, testified before Congress in 2015 against President Barack Obama’s executive action to provide access to Social Security numbers and driver’s licenses to non-citizens. He warned that these are the same documents used to register to vote.

Some non-citizens register and vote by mistake while others do it to impact the election, Husted said.

“I would say in the majority of the cases this is somebody who registers to vote who either didn’t know it was against the law or who is just in this country and trying to participate in democracy. But the bottom line is people who do this are guilty of a felony,” he said.

FIVE NEWS-SUN MUST READ STORIES

Overdose epidemic spreads, strains Springfield first responders

Springfield hopes to save money on $250M plan to stop sewer overflows

January record month for Clark County overdose deaths

Clark County Fairgrounds moves forward with boat racing plans

Historic downtown Springfield site may become year-round marketplace



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

VA may expand private health care choices for veterans
VA may expand private health care choices for veterans

Veterans will have expanded private health care options under legislation passed by Congress, but some critics contend it could lead to more privatization of VA services. The measure was part of a sweeping $51 billion VA bill that would institute reforms within the federal agency. The Senate passed the measure in 92-5 vote this week, which continued...
Trump says N. Korea summit may be back on; Ohio lawmakers react
Trump says N. Korea summit may be back on; Ohio lawmakers react

President Donald Trump on Friday warmly welcomed North Korea’s promising response to his abrupt withdrawal from the potentially historic Singapore summit and said “we’re talking to them now” about putting it back on track. “Everybody plays games,” said Trump, who often boasts about his own negotiating tactics and...
Thousands of military civilian jobs in Ohio at risk
Thousands of military civilian jobs in Ohio at risk

The U.S. House passed a defense spending bill Thursday that could impact nearly 6,000 civilian defense jobs in Columbus and 2,600 in Cleveland. The impact of the proposal on the Dayton region and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, meanwhile, would be negligible. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the House...
House OKs $182M Wright-Patt expansion, military pay raise
House OKs $182M Wright-Patt expansion, military pay raise

The House has passed a $717 billion defense policy bill that would give the military a 2.6 percent pay hike, the largest in nine years and allow for a major expansion at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The bill OKs a massive $182 million expansion of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at the base, one of the largest expansions in history...
What would proposed ‘Stand Your Ground’ gun bill in Ohio do?
What would proposed ‘Stand Your Ground’ gun bill in Ohio do?

Pro-gun rights lawmakers moved this week toward making Ohio a “stand your ground” state. House Bill 228 passed out of a House committee this week, even though Gov. John Kasich has threatened to veto the measure. Still, the bill has substantial support from House members with 38 co-sponsors. If and when it goes to the House floor, it will...
More Stories