Home Election 2020 Board of Elections launches investigation after Ohio House candidate alleges voter fraud

Board of Elections launches investigation after Ohio House candidate alleges voter fraud

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The Athens County Board of Elections (BOE) is initiating an investigation after a local Ohio House Democratic challenger made allegations of election fraud, the Athens BOE director said.

Debbie Quivey, director of the Athens County BOE, declined to provide details regarding the investigation, which began Tuesday. She did state the incident, however, did not appear to be a result of “maliciousness” but was rather “human error.” She did not elaborate further.

“It’s a very, very unfortunate thing, but things happen,” Quivey said. “What matters is how you handle it after the incident happens, how you handle the seriousness of it and what you do to resolve the situation.”

On Tuesday, Democratic challenger Katie O’Neill for Ohio House District 94 wrote on Facebook she was contacting Cleveland-area lawyer Louis Grube regarding what she believed was election fraud. 

O’Neill, who was defeated in a landslide against incumbent Rep. Jay Edwards, alleged there were neon orange signs at the Alexander High School voting location that stated votes for her do not count.

The signs were originally used in the primary election in November because O’Neill was ruled ineligible in the March primary due to issues regarding how long she had lived in the district, Quivey said. O’Neill won an Ohio Supreme Court case in April and was put back on the ballot.

O’Neill told The New Political she believes Quivey did not offer her a fair election.

“I don’t know what kind of world Debbie is running but it isn’t fair — it wasn’t fair for me,” O’Neill said.

Although Quivey stated the incident was unfortunate, she does not believe anything illegal occured.

She also noted any voters at Alexander High School dissuaded from voting for O’Neill could not have changed the outcome of the election. Edwards won 30,709 votes; O’Neill won 19,946 votes. Approximately 1,800 voters cast ballots at that voting location, according to precinct data.

“You want to look at your numbers,” Quivey said.

Kate McGukin, the Athens BOE chair, is expected to make a statement to the media and share the investigation’s findings early next week, Quivey said.

Edwards did not provide The New Political with a statement regarding O’Neill’s allegations, but responded to Facebook users in a post regarding the incident.

“I don’t work the polls. I don’t vote at that polling location,” Edwards wrote in a comment section. “I have no idea how it happened and the extent at which it affected anything. If this was a closer election, this would be a real problem. Luckily, it’s not.”

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