FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Secretary Husted Advises Elections Officials of Potential Registration Fraud, Issues Warning to
Pro-Marijuana Group ResponsibleOhio Submits Irregular Registrations
COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today issued Advisory 2015-03, which instructs the election officials at the 88 county boards of elections to carefully analyze new voter registrations being submitted by The Strategy Network, an organization coordinating the signature and registration drives for the pro-marijuana legalization group ResponsibleOhio.
Secretary Husted is urging local election officials to more closely review these forms following reports from boards of elections of an increase in errors and apparent fraudulent registration attempts from the group’s submissions. This fraudulent activity has been identified in conjunction with voter registration efforts The Strategy Network has been conducting while collecting signatures for their ballot initiative.
“As the state’s chief elections officer, I have a duty to work with our local boards of elections to ensure fairness at the ballot box and a primary component of that responsibility is to maintain clean voter rolls and establish safeguards against fraud,” Secretary Husted said. “ResponsibleOhio’s suspicious voter registration efforts seem to be simply another step in a growing trend of irresponsible behavior.”
The alleged irregularities reported to the Secretary of State include:
- Registrants who report non-existent addresses
- Signatures that are illegible or do not match the signature on file for the applicant in the voter’s existing registration record
- Multiple applications submitted on the same day for a single applicant at different addresses
- Applicants who are underage and will not turn 18 before the next General Election and are thus, ineligible to register at this time
- Multiple registration forms that appear to be completed in the same handwriting by a single person
“Disregard for Ohio’s laws and Ohio’s citizens will not be tolerated,” Secretary Husted said. “Sloppiness and fraud are unwelcome in our state’s elections system.”
The advisory reminds elections officials that state law prohibits knowingly helping an unqualified person register to vote, completing false registration forms and signing another person’s name to a voter registration form. The Secretary also reminds boards of their responsibility to investigate all suspicious registrations in accordance with Ohio law.
Secretary Husted also submitted a written warning to ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James, alerting him of the apparent irregularities and instructing him to take appropriate action to ensure his group’s registration and signature collection efforts are in line with state law.
ResponsibleOhio is currently in the process of gathering the required 305,591 signatures in order to qualify their proposed constitutional amendment for the ballot in Ohio. In addition to legalizing the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, the ResponsibleOhio proposal would enshrine a monopoly of 10 marijuana growing sites into the state’s constitution.
For more information, please contact Joshua Eck at (614) 466-2729