Ohio

Hamilton County Subpoenas Voter Fraud Suspects, Witnesses

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The Hamilton County Board of Elections has issued subpoenas to 19 suspects and 9 witnesses for further questioning as a result of months of investigation into potential voter fraud, ABC affiliate WCPO 9 reported on February 6. More than 80 individuals in Hamilton County allegedly voted multiple times in the November 2012 election, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported weeks after election day.

According to local media, the Hamilton County Board of Elections winnowed the number of suspected fraud cases down as official investigators determined most of the double votes were cast due to misunderstandings, mostly made by elderly voters who voted absentee and voted again by provisional ballot at their polling places.

Section 3599.15 of the Ohio Revised Code dictates that “no person shall […...] vote or attempt to vote more than once at the same election by any means, including voting or attempting to vote both by absent voter’s ballots [...…] and by regular ballot at the polls at the same election, or voting or attempting to vote both by absent voter’s ballots.”

In what may be the most visible of the voter fraud cases being investigated by authorities, Melowese Richardson, a Madisonville resident and long-time elections volunteer, allegedly voted up to six times for Barack Obama.

According to records, Richardson voted using an absentee ballot on November 1, and then voted again on Election Day. Richardson also forged ballots in the names of family members, casting ballots for grand-daughter India Richardson, Montez Richardson, Joseph Jones and Markus Barron.

Witnesses recalled that Richardson “was disruptive and hid things from the [poll] workers on elections,” adding that the “supplemental list” of voters who have already voted absentee in the precinct is missing and that workers at the polling place in question, the Madisonsville Recreation Center, failed to note which voters on the list had already voted.

Richardson explained to WCPO-TV 9 reporters that she thought that what she did was legal, vowing to “fight it for Mr. Obama and for Mr. Obama’s right to sit as president of the United States.”

Several other investigations are pending, as the board must meet to determine which cases should be submitted to the county prosecutor.

The cases include those of a Tennessee woman who voted in Ohio’’s elections while she was visiting her mother in Cincinnati, multiple voters who provided vacant or nonexistent addresses, and an unknown individual falsely signing into the polling place and casting a ballot under a registered voter’’s name.

In another case being investigated, an individual allegedly voted in the name of a dead voter during in-person absentee voting prior to election day. During the 2012 campaign season, the Ohio Democratic Party, President Obama’s re-election campaign, and progressive activist groups successfully lobbied for more permissive early voting rules and procedures.

In 2012, State Senator Nina Turner (D-25th District), whose name has been floated as a possible challenger to Ohio’s elections chief Jon Husted in 2016, joined labor unions and other progressive groups in a push to remove “racist” billboards warning that voter fraud is a felony.

Turner insisted to reporters in October that voter fraud “does not exist,” and has since introduced legislation designed to further relax loosen Ohio’s election integrity rules.

[Editor's note: Corrected next-to-last paragraph identifying Senator Turner as a House member.]

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