Republican Prosecutor Wants to Charge Voters Who Did NOT Vote More Than Once

Republicans and their news operations continue to try to suggest that voter fraud was rampant in Ohio in 2012.

Before the 2012 Election, Secretary of State John Husted tried to appease the base by suggesting that voter fraud was a big problem – we noted that after the election, he quickly backed off that claim.  Now, Husted has ordered all county Board of Elections to hold public hearings on voter fraud allegations.  If the allegations are found to be credible, the Boards of Elections can refer the matter to the county prosecutor.  This is, of course, theater – a prosecutor doesn’t need a referral pursue a criminal case.

Fox News continues to beat the drum.  In February, Fox News breathlessly profiled an Ohio woman who admitted to casting votes for the President on behalf of family members.  Yes, that is illegal, but it sounds like those folks were going to vote for the President anyway . . .

To get a feel for what is really going, the Cincinnati Enquirer has a must read story.

The article describes what many Republicans are calling “voter fraud.”  The so-called fraud in these situations are 59 people who submitted absentee ballots and then cast ballots at the polling place.

Sounds bad, right.  Except (BIG EXCEPT) that when the people went to the polling place, they cast provisions ballots.  The provisional ballots were only counted if the absentee ballot did not arrive at the Board of Elections in time.

Why would someone do that?  Because, as the article describes, they were concerned that the absentee ballot was incorrect or was lost in the mail.  An Enquirer review found the voters cast ballots on Election Day as a precaution, worried their absentee ballot didn’t arrive in time, didn’t have enough postage, or wasn’t completed properly.

To be clear: none of these people actually cast two votes.  Sounds like the system worked, right?  End of story.  Dan Tokaji, THE expert on voting law in Ohio, was quoted in the paper that this “doesn’t come close to voting fraud.”

Yet, Republican Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Deters is considering filing felony charges against these people.

That’s right.  Deters wants to send someone like Bella Lipavsky, a 64 year old Russian Immigrant, to a state prison.  Ms. Lipavsky told the Enquirer that she voted absentee, but later asked to submit a provisional ballot because she was worried she had made a mistake. Ms. Lipavsky’s real crime?  She supported President Obama.

This is just the latest example of Republican prosecutors over-reaching.  In February, we highlighted the efforts of Republican Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell to intimidate critics of Kasich’s school funding plan.

We don’t know why Republicans get so fired up about voter fraud.  Hamilton County Republican Chairman Alex Triantafilou called the cases “widespread fraud.”  “Widespread?”  The 59 people who voted a provisional ballot after submitting an absentee ballot 0.01% of the votes cast last November.

Actually, we DO know why Republicans are pursuing this issue so vigorously – they hope to justify the imposition of rules that make it harder for people to vote.  Voter Fraud remains the “Big Lie” we spoke about before the election.