LIMA — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose made a visit to the Allen County Board of Elections Thursday to highlight one of the board’s post election routines — the post-election audit.
Undertaken to ensure paper ballots match their digital equivalents, the post-election audit requires that every board of election test random samplings of three different election results. In Allen County’s case, Board of Elections Director Kathy Meyer said the board had pulled ballots from four of the county’s 88 precincts and double-checked the results of the presidential election, one of the two Ohio Supreme Court races and the county commissioner race.
No inconsistencies have been found.
“This is required in Ohio after every election, and it’s just another step in the process to reassure Ohioans that their voice was heard accurately and honestly and their vote was counted accurately and honestly in a fair election,” LaRose said.
Ohio’s highest election official also used the visit to talk about the takeaways of Ohio’s largest ever election. This post November, just under six million Ohioans cast ballots in the election, beating 2008’s record by roughly 200,000 people.
Unsurprisingly, Ohio’s turnout — calculated at 74% — broke all-time records. Putnam County, which ranked as Ohio’s county with the highest turnout, ended up seeing 84.1% of registered voters turn in a ballot.
LaRose said such turnout was a testament to election board workers, who ended up conducting a successful election despite the difficult times.
“We’ve never had more challenging circumstances in our state’s history,” LaRose said. “I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that this is the most difficult election that’s ever been run in our state — in the midst of a global pandemic, a very challenging political environment and all kinds of other things.”
That challenging political environment has caused some problems for Republicans like LaRose, who are actively encouraging Ohioans to keep faith in the election system despite President Donald Trump’s message that widespread voter fraud cost him the election.
Just Wednesday afternoon, the president — using public tax dollars — released a 46-minute edited video that communicated a laundry list of largely debunked claims of voter fraud. Despite his allegations, his legal challenges have mostly fizzled out due to a lack of evidence.
“It’s important for Ohioans to understand this process because it’s kind of a civics education, right, especially with the national narrative being what it is right now. …” LaRose said. “And that’s why I really wanted to highlight this post-election audit, and this is happening in all 88 counties throughout the state.”
For those Ohioans who believe the president’s claims of a stolen election, LaRose encouraged them to get involved in the process to see firsthand how elections operate.
“If you want to get a crash course in how safe our elections are and how honest they are, sign up to be a bulwark,” LaRose said. “Is voter fraud possible? Yes. Does it happen? Yes. It’s exceedingly rare. And that’s the good news. We have to work to keep it rare. And once you understand the process and all the safeguards that go into the process, at least in Ohio, it should make you a more confident voter than you were before.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.