COLUMBUS (WKBN/WCMH) — Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced an investigation has uncovered that hundreds of non-U.S. citizens are registered to vote in the state, and dozens of them voted illegally — even right here in the Mahoning Valley.
According to a release from Husted, 385 people who are not citizens of the United States are registered to vote in Ohio. Out of those, 82 voted in at least one election in the last year.
Of the more than 370,000 registered voters in the tri-county area, nine are non-citizens:
- Mahoning County: Six registered, one cast a vote
- Trumbull County: Two registered and voted
- Columbiana County: One registered, but did not cast a vote
“That’s not a massive number but it’s important to remember that in the past three years, 112 races in Ohio have been won by a single vote or tied,” said Husted’s spokesperson, Joshua Eck.
Husted’s office said the 82 non-citizens who are registered to vote and cast ballots will be immediately referred to law enforcement for further investigation and possible prosecution.
“In light of the national discussion about illegal voting, it is important to inform our discussions with facts. The fact is voter fraud happens, it is rare and when it happens, we hold people accountable,” Secretary Husted said.
That conversation was brought to light when President Trump made unfounded claims that three million people had voted illegally.
Husted began this review in 2013 and he’s done one every two years.
The 303 registered voters identified as non-citizens who have not cast a ballot will be sent letters both informing them that non-citizens are not eligible to vote and requesting that they cancel their registration. A follow-up letter will be sent to any individuals that still remain on the rolls after 30 days. Any non-citizens identified that remain on the rolls after being contacted twice will then be referred to law enforcement, according to Husted.
Anyone that did vote could be charged with a fifth-degree felony, which could bring jail time.
“I have a responsibility to preserve the integrity of Ohio’s elections system,” Secretary Husted said. “When you consider that in Ohio we have had 112 elections decided by one vote or tied in the last three years, every case of illegal voting must be taken seriously and elections officials must have every resource available to them to respond accordingly.”
Husted added that none of the cases where a non-citizen cast a ballot occurred in jurisdictions where an election was decided by one vote or tied.