FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Secretary Husted Identifies An Additional 145 Non-Citizens Registered to Vote, Refers 27 for Illegally Casting Ballots
Calls on federal government to provide information needed to identify other non-citizens on voter rolls, continues push for online voter registration to improve access and security.
COLUMBUS – As part of a continuing effort to ensure only those eligible are registering to vote and casting ballots in Ohio, Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced his office has identified an additional 145 registered voters who are not citizens of the United States as required by law. Of these, 27 have been referred for further investigation and possible prosecution based on reported vote history in previous elections.
“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,” Secretary Husted said. “Every vote matters, especially given that 70 local elections have been decided by single vote or tied over the last 16 months.”
The Secretary of State’s office was able to identify these 145 individuals using information provided by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) by virtue of the fact that in order to obtain a driver’s license, someone who is residing in Ohio legally and not a citizen must provide documentation to the BMV. Records show that the individuals in question provided non-citizen documentation on at least two occasions. This is important because based on information the individuals themselves provided to the BMV, there is a greater degree of certainty that they were not citizens at the time they registered to vote.
In addition to the 27 individuals referred to the Attorney General, the Secretary of State’s office also identified 118 non-citizens who are currently registered to vote in Ohio, but there is no evidence to show they ever cast a ballot. They have been sent letters requesting that they cancel their registrations if they are indeed not United States citizens.
Today’s announcement is a continuation of Secretary Husted’s work over the past four years to clean up Ohio’s voter rolls through improved sharing of government-held data. In fact, he was the first Ohio Secretary of State to share data electronically with the BMV, which has made identifying non-citizens on the voter rolls possible.
The 145 individuals identified today brings the number of non-citizens registered to vote in Ohio to 436. In December 2013, Secretary Husted found 17 non-citizens who appeared to have voted illegally in the 2012 Presidential Election and an additional 274 non-citizens who registered to vote but there was no record of casting a ballot. The 17 cases were referred to the Ohio Attorney General’s office for further investigation, which so far has resulted in four convictions. Letters were sent to the remaining 274 non-citizens, which has resulted in 96 voter registration cancellations, six individuals have become naturalized citizens, 63 were undeliverable and 109 remain under investigation by the Attorney General’s office.
Despite these efforts, the Secretary of State’s office does not have access to the resources necessary to identify all non-citizens on the rolls. This is due to the fact that many non-citizens have access to Social Security numbers, which under federal law can also be used to register to vote. President Barack Obama’s recent Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will only exacerbate this problem by granting millions more access to this valid form of identification that can be used to register to vote.
In an attempt to address this issue before the executive actions are fully implemented, Secretary Husted recently wrote President Obama and testified before Congress to raise awareness about this matter and to ask the federal government to give states real-time access to accurate, searchable, electronic databases of non-citizens who have valid Social Security numbers so that they may distinguish between citizens and lawfully-present non-citizens.
“I am committed to my responsibility to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat, and with the cooperation of the federal government we can do this without any additional burden on the voters,” Secretary Husted said. “Without access to the information we need, this will continue to be an unresolved problem.”
When it comes to improving the security and access of elections in Ohio, Secretary Husted continues to seek legislative authority to offer full online voter registration. This system would save the taxpayers money and create additional ease in participating in Ohio elections, but would also add an extra layer of security by allowing the state to instantaneously check voter eligibility before new voters are even placed on the rolls.
“Maintaining accurate voter rolls is an important part of our ongoing mission to protect the integrity of our elections,” Secretary Husted said. “I will continue to push for legislative authority to create an online voter registration system and access to all of the tools necessary to ensure that Ohio remains a national leader in election integrity.”
For more information, please contact Joshua Eck at (614) 466-2729.