Politics

Is voting fraud really an issue? Well, maybe.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Peter Dutton
Written by Olivia Miltner

An additional 145 non-citizens were registered to vote in Ohio, announced Secretary of State Jon Husted last week. The findings bring the total non-citizens registered to vote to 436 after four years of work from the Secretary of State’s office.

Also included in the report were 27 new non-citizens who cast ballots and were referred for further investigation by Husted. He intends to push for additional information from the federal government and online voter registration in order to continue combating voter fraud while increasing voting access.

“Right now, the primary reform Secretary Husted is pressing the legislature for in Ohio is for authorization to implement online voter registration,” said Joshua Eck, press secretary for the Secretary of State, in an email. “Implementation of online voter registration is the clear next step in making it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

Eck said online registration would be more secure and convenient, and he said it could save Ohio taxpayers a “significant amount of money.”

“Some states that have implemented the system have saved between 50 cents and $1 per registration,” Eck said.

Critics of Husted argue that most of the voter fraud cases discovered in Ohio are actually just innocent mistakes instead of intentionally criminal acts.

After the 2012 elections, Husted asked Ohio counties to investigate all 270 voter fraud claims, but most of the cases were dropped, according to a Cleveland Plain Dealer article.

“Basically I found that there wasn’t an overwhelming pattern of voter fraud,” said Butler County Prosecutor and Republican Michael Gmoser in the Plain Dealer article. “There’s a couple of isolated incidents of people making bone-headed decisions.”

Although the actual number of criminal cases may, in the end, turn out to be small compared to the overall number of voters in Ohio, Husted believes any voter fraud merits investigation.

“No amount of voter fraud is acceptable and as the state’s chief elections officer it is my responsibility to maintain our voter rolls and ensure only those who are eligible are participating in our elections,” Husted said in a press release. “Every vote matters, especially given that 70 local elections have been decided by single vote or tied over the last 16 months.”

About the author

Olivia Miltner

Olivia is the co-director of research and development at The New Political. She is in her fourth year at Ohio University majoring in journalism and war and peace. Olivia has interned at WOSU’s 89.7 NPR News and the Central Ohio American Red Cross. She is from Columbus, Ohio, and she loves animal videos. Previously, Olivia was the editor in chief, the state editor and a state writer. Follow her on Twitter @omiltner.

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