On Tuesday February 11, 2014, the Hamilton County Board of Elections unanimously voted to send long time poll worker, Ellen Duncan, to the Hamilton County Prosecutors Office for investigation of voter fraud. Ms. Duncan, who was hired as a Republican worker, worked at Precinct Cincinnati 13A, the Urban League on Reading Road.
Ms. Duncan, a 14+ year poll worker appeared before the Board and apologized for voting twice in connection with the November 2013 Election, stating she loves her job and she did not vote twice on purpose.
Ms. Duncan voted an absentee ballot in early October 2013 and then voted a regular ballot at the polls on Election Day. Both ballots were counted in the election.
At the meeting, Ms. Duncan gave several reasons to the Board for her mistake.
She told the Board that she did not remember voting an absentee ballot because she had, “a really hard day that day,” even though she confirmed to the Board that the signature on the absent ballot envelope was hers.
When shown the signature poll book with her voter information, “Absentee Voter” special designation and her signature from Election Day, Ms. Duncan commented that she was not familiar with or responsible for the signature poll book and that her only job at the polls was to rip off the ballots.
Ms. Duncan then proceeded to blame the other poll workers for her error because someone did not highlight “Absentee Voter” by her name or they handed her the wrong ballot when she voted. When she was asked to identify the poll worker at fault, Ms. Duncan had a difficult time remembering which poll worker handed her the ballot.
Amy Searcy, Director of The Hamilton County Board of Elections, said at the meeting that Board Staff had contacted some of other poll workers in Ms. Duncan’s precinct and as of yesterday, they have not found anyone that recalls information about Ms. Duncan’s voting at the polls.
In a unanimous bi-partisan vote, the Board Members voted to send this case to the Prosecutor’s office for further investigation. Caleb Faux, Board Member and Executive Director of the Hamilton County Democrat Party, suggested that the Board question the other poll workers in Precinct 13A to determine if they had any involvement in this case.
“This case clearly states the need for competent poll workers from both parties,” said Ohio VIP’s Mary Siegel, who attended yesterday’s BOE meeting. “I won’t comment on Ms. Duncan’s intent on double voting, but I will say that she is not qualified as a poll worker and to administer our elections. She appeared to have little or no knowledge of election procedure despite her 14 years of training. I know for a fact that there are many other poll workers in Hamilton County that are equally as incompetent. This is because I have personally worked with some of them at the polls. Incompetent poll workers are a detriment to the voting process and unfair to other poll workers who have to cover for their inabilities. Maybe this case will encourage all Boards of Elections to look harder at those they hire as election workers.”