***Video from this announcement is available online here.***
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Husted Asks Attorney General to Investigate 17 Non-Citizens for Voting Illegally in 2012 & Takes Additional Steps to Clean up Ohio’s Voter Rolls
Calls on General Assembly to pass online voter registration to modernize Ohio elections & help prevent future cases of fraud
COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today referred for investigation and potential prosecution 17 individuals who voted in the 2012 General Election though they were not citizens of the United States. This investigation was possible due only to the Secretary’s work over the past three years to clean up Ohio’s voter rolls and share government-held data, including information from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
“I have a responsibility to uphold election law and under both federal and state law, you must be a citizen to vote.” Secretary Husted said. “Now that we have the capability to cross-check citizenship information with Ohio’s voter rolls, I will continue to be vigilant and to push the General Assembly for additional tools to modernize our elections system, making it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”
While the state does not maintain a comprehensive database of all non-citizens in Ohio, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles does have some information by virtue of the fact that in order to obtain a driver’s license, someone who is not a citizen, but residing in Ohio legally, must provide documentation to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) on a regular basis. Records show that the 17 individuals in question provided non-citizen documentation before the November 6, 2012 election and have since provided the same non-citizen information. This is important because based on information they themselves provided to the BMV, there is a greater degree of certainty that they were not citizens at the time they cast ballots in Ohio.
In addition to the 17 individuals referred to the Attorney General today, the Secretary of State’s office has information that more than 274 non-citizens are currently registered to vote in Ohio, though there is no evidence that they have voted. They will be asked to cancel their registrations to help ensure only eligible voters are on Ohio’s voter rolls.
It is important to note that none of the cases involve illegal or undocumented immigrants, and there is no evidence of undocumented immigrants voting in any election.
This effort represents the latest in a series of steps Secretary Husted has taken to dramatically improve the accuracy of Ohio’s voter rolls since taking office:
- Voter records with complete information have gone from 20 percent in January 2011, to now 86 percent thanks to the newly-forged partnership with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
- More than 138,200 voters have updated their address using the Secretary’s Online Change of Address system at www.MyOhioVote.com.
- Since January 2011, more than 257,000 deceased Ohioans have been verified and removed from voter rolls.
- More than 300,000 mailings have gone out as part of 2013 National Change of Address process, allowing voters to update their information and confirm their registrations to stay on the rolls.
- The number of duplicate registrations has gone from more than 340,000 in January 2011 to roughly 1,400 prior to 2012 Presidential Election and down to just four ahead of 2013 General Election.
- Just ahead of the 2012 General Election, the Secretary of State’s office proactively contacted 370,000 voters who either moved out of state (70,000) or within Ohio (300,000) to update their voting information or cancel registrations, if applicable.
“For the overall integrity of our elections and to help uphold the law, we must continue to modernize our elections system,” Secretary Husted said. “Online voter registration would be an important step in the right direction.”
Secretary Husted has been seeking legislative authority to offer full online voter registration. Not only would it be more convenient for voters and save taxpayer dollars, but it would also add an extra layer of security by allowing the state to instantaneously check voter eligibility before they are ever placed on the voter rolls.
As with previous announcements surrounding voting irregularities in Ohio, Secretary Husted said: “There are four important things to remember regarding non-citizen voting: It exists. It’s rare. We are holding violators accountable. And we are building a better elections system to reduce the chance of it happening again.”
For more information, please contact Matt McClellan at (614) 995-2239.