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Government


New voter address guidelines expel PO boxes
Report also says 135 cases of fraud found in Ohio from 2012 election, out of 5.6 million voters
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT JO INGLES


Reporter
Jo Ingles
 
In The Region:
Voter fraud is an issue that’s talked about a lot around election time but Ohio’s top elections official says it’s not a big problem in Ohio.
Husted on voter addresses

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Secretary of State Jon Husted says he’s heard the stories about possible voter and it bothers him. That’s why he says he has worked with elections boards in all of Ohio’s 88 counties and has released the first ever voter fraud report.

“Frankly it concerned me with some of the hyperbole that would circulate around these issues that some of these unsubstantiated claims left unchecked would become conventional wisdom,” Husted says.
Few cases of fraud found
Husted says one case of voter fraud is too many. But he says the fact is voter fraud is not rampant in Ohio and the numbers bear that out. He says more than 5.6 million Ohio voters voted in the November election and out of that, a total of 135 possible cases of voter fraud have been referred to law enforcement for possible charges.

“Also based on the reports from the counties, no voters were denied ballots and zero referrals have been made as a result of voters claiming suppression,” Husted says.

Cuyahoga County, the state’s largest, leads in the number of ballots that are possibly fraudulent: 15 cases have been referred to law enforcement officials there, with 13 in Delaware County. Hamilton, Erie and Medina Counties each have ten referrals. 

PO box addresses no longer allowed
Husted says his experience with this process has led him to issue a directive requiring all registered voters have actual street addresses.

“There were a number of voters who were registered at an address that was not a street address, either a post office box at the U.S. Post office or a rental box that they may have used at a private company, say for example a UPS location," Husted says. "Under Ohio law, you can’t register to vote from a non-residential address so we are issuing a directive now to require the boards of elections to put new safeguards in place to insure all voter registration addresses are indeed residential. This will help prevent the chance of fraud in the future and most importantly, it is in compliance with Ohio law.”

Husted says he’s asking the legislature to approve new technology for his office that will better help his office detect possible voting irregularities in the future. He says the safeguards that are already in place have worked in the majority of cases but says the new technology would make it even easier to detect problems.

He also wants more states to participate in the interstate crosscheck program that helped find some of the existing cases being referred to law enforcement. Husted says there are some questions about whether illegal immigrants might have cast ballots and he says those cases are in the process of being scrutinized. But the bottom line, he says, is there is no reason for Ohioans to distrust the voting system in Ohio.

“We now have some facts to better inform the debate over voter fraud, election administration and the policies that surround our elections in the state of Ohio," Husted says. "Another point I want to make is if you cheat, you will get caught and we will hold you accountable. To the vast majority of voters, and I say the vast majority of voters, your vote will not be diluted by the people who cheated and everyday, we are working smarter every day to uphold the integrity of our election system and your vote.”
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