COLUMBUS – As county board of elections in the 12th Congressional District continue working to fulfill their statutory responsibilities in preparing for the start of the official canvass following last Tuesday’s special election, it is important to dispel misleading claims of election tampering and voter fraud regarding the election. From mischaracterizing elements of voter registration policies, raising alarm over an oversight during the unofficial canvass, and making erroneous claims with no basis in reality, this misinformation only aims to diminish the merits of a well-run election resulting in a very close contest. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has released the following statement:
“Anytime you have a close election that receives intense local and national attention, like the one held last week for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, there will inevitably be those who seek to sow seeds of doubt about the process and call into question how the election has been administered.
“The fact is that what I said last Tuesday remains the case today. That the bipartisan county boards of elections who administered the special election did so with the professionalism that has become the standard in Ohio.
“However, to those who are attempting to mislead voters that county election officials are not counting all eligible ballots, or that somehow voter fraud is a problem in this election, I would point out a few facts.
“First, I can assure all voters who participated in last Tuesday’s election that all eligible ballots will be counted – no exceptions. It is also important to keep in mind that the results provided on Tuesday are unofficial and the official results will not be available until county boards of elections complete the official canvass, which must be done by August 24.
“As to concerns of potential voter fraud, my office has done a lot to clean up the voter rolls. During my tenure, we have removed more than 680,000 deceased voters, reconciled nearly two million duplicate registrations, and now have complete information on over 90 percent of voters – up from just 20 percent when I took office in 2011. As I have always said, while voter fraud exists, it is rare and we hold those who commit it accountable.
“Additionally, those who want to engage in spreading a blatantly false narrative wholly detached from reality should find better ways to spend their time. Every candidate that appeared on the ballot this past Tuesday met the legal requirements and earned the right to be a candidate.
“In Ohio, we run fair and open elections with integrity because we want voters to have confidence in the outcome of every contest. I am confident that county boards will approach the official canvass and certification of results with the same level of professionalism that they did on Election Day. I am also confident that the final vote count will be accurate and reflect the will of the voters.
“To the bad actors out there who want chaos and to erode the people’s confidence in our elections, enough is enough.”
Voter Registrations – State law has not always required Ohioans to provide their date of birth when registering to vote. Prior to June 1974, when House Bill 662 was passed requiring date of birth to register to vote, county boards of election used placeholder dates. This is why some registrations have dates like 1900 or 1800 listed. These individuals met the requirements at the time to become registered voters and remain legally qualified electors today.
Unaccounted & Outstanding Ballots – County boards of elections are required to tabulate and report all ballots received and cast by the close of the polls on Election Day. In a situation like the one reported in Franklin County, the board’s first priority is to resolve the problem, which they have done. The Secretary of State’s office will work with the board to determine why this happened and how to ensure the error is not repeated. The Secretary of State’s office is confident that as board’s spokesperson explained, this incident was the result of human error and not some conspiracy to impact the outcome of the race.
Candidates – Individuals who appeared on the ballot as a candidate for the 12th Congressional District met all constitutional and statutory requirements, which are outlined in the Ohio Candidate Requirement Guide starting on page two for the office of U.S. Representative.