Ohio

Ohio Poll Worker Sent to Prison for Illegal Voting, More Cases Pending

Campaigns Melowese Richardson

A spokeswoman for Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters responded to disgraced poll worker Melowese Richardson’s complaints she was targeted for political reasons in a recent interview with Media Trackers. Richardson, one of several individuals indicted on voter fraud charges in Hamilton County stemming from the 2012 general election, was sentenced to five years in prison earlier this month.

Melowese Richardson's booking photo

Melowese Richardson’s booking photo

“The judge made the point that nobody wants to win by cheating. I mean, you want to win fair and square,” Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney spokeswoman Julie Wilson told Media Trackers. “I would hope that candidates would have that feeling, that you want to win as the result of a fair and lawful election — not because people cheated.”

Wilson explained that “when our office has been notified of these cases, obviously, we’ve looked into them,” dismissing any suggestion that the charges were politically motivated.

“There have been several indictments recently, where it was appropriate,” Wilson added. She noted that Deters believes voter fraud is “absolutely” a serious issue, contrary to the assurances of liberal politicians including State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland), who is now a candidate for secretary of state.

“Justice was done here,” True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht told Media Trackers. “While Richardson could certainly have seen more jail time under state and federal statutes, it’s important to look at the greater picture. It’s rare to see an individual case of voter fraud receive such national attention from start to finish.”

“Our hope is that this serves as a cautionary tale for those that think they can flaunt the system in future elections,” Engelbrecht added.

Richardson, who served as a poll worker in Cincinnati for decades, will serve 15 months for each of four felony Illegal Voting charges.

During the investigation, it was discovered that Richardson had been casting extra votes for years, forging ballots in the names of her comatose sister Montez Richardson and her granddaughter India Richardson.

At her sentencing hearing, Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman told Richardson her crimes were comparable to theft, explaining that “you’ve stolen, just like you steal from stores, just like you disrupt the justice system, just like you beat people up.”

Richardson continued to deny any wrongdoing, explaining that she “would have done nothing to harm that system or to cause disgrace for Mister — for President Obama.”

“President Obama, if he were asked today about this, he would be appalled,” Judge Ruehlman replied. “He would not want anybody to cheat to get him elected.”

While Richardson’s case has concluded, several other cases of alleged voter fraud are still active in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court at this time.