Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose referred 75 people to the Ohio attorney general and county prosecutors for additional investigation and potential prosecution based on accusations that they illegally voted during the 2020 general election.
LaRose’s office states that individuals who allegedly voted in one state and then cast an additional vote in Ohio, violating state law, have been identified.
All of the violations found occurred during the 2020 general election. These individuals were identified through partnerships Ohio has with Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Texas, Washington, Washington D.C., and Wisconsin. Additional referrals from other partner states are expected.
According to LaRose’s office, 5.9 million of the 8 million Ohioans registered to vote – nearly three out of four – cast their ballot in the 2020 general election.
“This is a perfect example of why we created the Public Integrity Division. The only way to strengthen the confidence of the voters is by working every day to earn their trust. Ohioans should know if you violate election law, we’ll catch you. Every vote matters,” LaRose said in a statement.
LaRose’s office states that each potential violation went under individual investigation, working with the secretary of state’s office or local jurisdiction in the partnering state. The review used the data that partner states provided to cross-match with voter history in Ohio. According to state law, placing a second vote constitutes a crime.
“Ohio has a zero-tolerance policy for voter fraud. It’s one person, one vote. That’s what Ohioans expect when they cast their ballot and it’s what we will continue to deliver,” LaRose said in a media statement.
Today’s referrals bring the total number of referrals during LaRose’s administration, starting in 2019, to 630. That number includes noncitizen registration and voting, individuals voting twice, and individuals who vote for a deceased individual. This number also includes several elections.
LaRose emphasizes that voter fraud in Ohio is still exceedingly rare but these alleged instances are a very serious violation of election law.
“Since 2020, there have been 31 tie votes across Ohio, meaning even one fraudulent vote could impact the future of an Ohio community,” LaRose said in a statement.
Investigators within the state’s new Public Integrity Division conducted these reviews. The division began operations on October 10 and investigates campaign finance reporting, voting system certification, voter registration integrity, election law violation investigations, data retention and transparency, and cybersecurity protocols.
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Frank LaRose” by Frank LaRose. Background Photo “Election Day 2020” by Phil Roeder. CC BY 2.0.