LIMA — Three cases of possible voter fraud are under investigation in Allen County.
Ken Terry, director of the Allen County Board of Elections, announced the cases were passed on to the prosecutor's office after three people voted twice in the Nov. 6 election. He told the board during a special meeting at the Allen County Board of Elections on Monday.
“The bottom line is these people cast two ballots, but one of them is not going to count,” Terry said Monday. “We were able to catch them early. There are various situations where they voted either absentee or at the polls and then cast a provisional ballot. These have been forwarded to the prosecutor to be investigated for possible voter fraud.”
In one case, Terry said, the person voted on election day twice at two separate precincts. Officials saw the signatures completely differed from each other. In the other two cases, the people cast absentee ballots and also voted on election day at their respective precincts.
Terry had taken two of the three cases to the prosecutor on Wednesday, but the board just voted on the third Monday that it needed to be investigated.
Voters must present some form of identification, such as a current and valid photo ID, a military ID, a copy of a current utility bill, a bank statement or some sort of paycheck or government check, to vote.
According to Ohio law, voters who don’t provide one of those documents will still be able to vote by providing the last four digits of the Social Security number, and the ballot is cast as a provisional ballot.
If the voter who doesn’t have identification and doesn’t know or have a Social Security number, he or she must sign an affirmation swearing to the voter’s identity under penalty of election falsification charges and that ballot is, again, cast as a provisional ballot.
Allen County Prosecutor Juergen Waldick said he was aware of the cases, but the Allen County Sheriff’s Office will be looking into the cases. Officials from the Allen County Sheriff’s Office said they hadn’t heard anything about the cases yet.
The board spent most of the day Monday reviewing provisional and absentee ballots. One of the larger stacks they had to go through were ballots that contained technical errors. There was an abnormal amount of it this year, Terry said. He said it was a combination of voter and electronic error.
“The reason we had a lot this year was because it was just a high turnout,” he said. “But also, we did have a problem with one of our printers for our in-person absentee voting, and so a lot of those ballots got kicked back, and we had to remake those. We identified that relatively early and fixed that. But that did cause problems.”
Another new task for the board was reviewing ballots that were cast at the the wrong precinct. Traditionally, ballots that were cast at the incorrect precincts would be tossed out, Terry said.
He said that voters can cast votes in the wrong precinct if a poll worker allows them to do so or if a voter refuses to vote at the correct location. He said he suspected a number of the 70 ballots the board sorted through was a combination of both.
“This year, one of the 10 lawsuits that came before the election, one of those was expanding that, so that if anybody votes in the wrong precinct but the right polling location, it should be counted,” Terry said. “That’s why those were all remade on the right precinct and counted. Traditionally, by Ohio Law, they would be rejected by voting for the wrong precinct.”
Terry said the official results will be released Tuesday, but it doesn’t stop there for him.
“After we do the audit in two to three weeks, then we’ll probably be done with the election,” he said. “And then we get ready for the next one."