In Ohio, more than one out of every five registered voters is probably ineligible to vote. In this key swing-state that can make a big difference in determining who both national and state elected officials will be. Two Ohio counties had more voters registered than were eligible to vote. Further, another 31 counties currently have registration numbers at more than 90 percent of those eligible, which is seen as unrealistic by voting experts with the national average being slightly above 70 percent.
In Presidential elections, it will be difficult to determine which votes to count and lawsuits concerning the results will surely ensue. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has attempted to clean up the rolls, but it appears he does not have the power to completely fix the problem.
“Common sense says that the odds of voter fraud increase the longer these ineligible voters are allowed to populate our rolls.”
Husted contacted Attorney General Holder’s Office in an effort to discuss balancing seemingly conflicting federal laws in an effort to clean up Ohio’s dirty voter list without removing eligible voters. However Holder’s office has not responded. Husted stated:
“As Ohio’s chief elections official, it is my responsibility to ensure the votes of every eligible voter are counted and ensure the integrity and accuracy of the results.” He went on to say that “This is a difficult task when federal regulations limit Ohio’s ability to remove ineligible names, thereby increasing the chance for voter fraud.”
Additionally, there is the problem of inactive voters. An inactive voter is someone who has not voted in at least four years or has likely moved out of state. Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch stated “Those (inactive voters) are all potential names that could be used for voter fraud.” Currently under federal law, elections officials are not allowed to remove an inactive voter unless they can present a prima facie evidence that he or she is no longer eligible. Of Ohio’s 7.8 million registered voters, nearly 1.6 million are regarded as “inactive.”
According to the Columbus Dispatch, of the inactive voters identified with a party, 53 percent are Democratic and 45 percent Republican. Additionally, roughly 750,000 haven’t voted in Ohio since at least 2007. Even registered voters who have informed the U.S. Postal Service that they are moving out of state cannot be purged, according to Husted spokeswoman Maggie Ostrowski. The secretary of state instead can only send these voters letters asking them to voluntarily withdraw their Ohio registration; but if they don’t they continue to be listed on the rolls.
The process for removing inactive voters usually takes several years. Husted has partnered with the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles to improve the state’s voter registration database so election workers could cross-check the identities of voters. Last week, Husted released the first ever-statewide report on voter fraud based on a review of cases by Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections and the Secretary of State’s office following the 2012 Presidential Election. The report lists that 135 cases of voter fraud have been referred to law enforcement for further investigation. With these numbers it is likely that more fraud exists. Hopefully something can be done before the next Presidential election because although Ohio has lost population in recent years it remains one the few states that is in play for both parties in all national elections.