Ohio secretary of state finds 27 potentially illegal votes

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) has referred just 27 potential instances of illegal votes cast in the 2020 presidential election to state and local prosecutors for investigation, an indication of what he called a secure election two years ago.

In a press release Tuesday, LaRose said his office had identified 62 potential cases of election fraud in recent years. Of those, 31 were noncitizens who registered to vote but did not cast a ballot in any election.

Another four cases involved people casting potentially illegal ballots in other elections.

In the 2020 elections, LaRose said his office identified four noncitizens who potentially cast a ballot that year, 14 deceased citizens whose ballots were potentially cast and nine individuals who may have voted more than once.

More than 5.9 million registered voters cast ballots in the 2020 elections in Ohio, setting the rate of potential fraud — assuming all of the 27 cases are in fact fraud — at just 0.0005 percent.

“Our state is proof positive you don’t have to choose between secure or convenient elections — we have both,” LaRose said. “In Ohio, easy to vote and hard to cheat aren’t mutually exclusive. At the end of the day, these referrals are all about accountability.”

LaRose’s office will formally refer the cases to local county prosecutors or to Attorney General Dave Yost (R), depending on which office has jurisdiction.

LaRose has been among the Republicans who defended the integrity of the 2020 elections even in the face of former President Trump’s repeated efforts to distract from his own loss with a series of disproven conspiracy theories and outright lies.

Trump won Ohio’s 18 electoral votes by an 8-point margin over President Biden in 2020, though Biden’s campaign did not seriously contest the state. Trump’s total share of the vote, about 53 percent, was the highest any Republican presidential candidate had scored in the Buckeye State since former President George H.W. Bush carried it with 55 percent in 1988.

The report from LaRose’s office is the latest to show how rare voter fraud is in American elections. A review published by The Associated Press in December of 25.5 million votes cast for president in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — the six states critical to Biden’s victory — found just 475 potential cases of voter fraud, far below Biden’s margin of victory in any of the six states.

And many of those cases turned out to be meritless as well. Officials in Pima County, Ariz., declined to pursue criminal charges in any of the 151 cases of potential voter fraud there, the county attorney’s office said last month. County Attorney Laura Conover said the system had worked, and in no case did a voter cast more than one ballot that was counted.

Still, Trump and some Republican candidates have clung to lies about the results of the last election even as they look ahead to the midterm contests. Trump himself appeared in a television advertisement run on behalf of former Sen. David Perdue (Ga.), who lost a Senate runoff contest last January and is now challenging Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in the Republican primary, to renew debunked claims of voter fraud.

Tags Brian Kemp David Perdue Donald Trump election 2020 Frank LaRose illegal votes Joe Biden Mike DeWine Ohio

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