FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City Demolished Building Lists lead to Voter Challenges in
On Monday, February 2, 2015, the Franklin County Board of Elections unanimously voted to approve twenty eight (28) voter challenges brought by Franklin County resident Carol Bicking. Mrs. Bicking submitted the voter challenges to her Board of Elections after she found twenty-eight (28) voters were registered at twenty (20) now-vacant lots. The houses had been demolished within the past few years by the City of Columbus and are now a part of the City’s Land Bank. Mrs. Bicking acquired the list of demolished buildings from the City of Columbus Redevelopment Office.
All twenty-eight (28) voter challenges were submitted in accordance with Ohio election laws. The Franklin County Board of Elections notified the voters by mail of the challenges and instructed them to contact the Board of Elections to update their registration addresses. None of the challenged voters responded to the Board’s communication. The Board of Elections independently investigated all challenged addresses to verify that these locations were indeed vacant lots prior to approving the voter challenges.
The largest contributing factor to the inaccuracy of Ohio’s voter rolls is that voters do not update their registration addresses with their Board of Elections when they move. “By law a person must vote where they reside, otherwise their ballot has the potential of being rejected,” says Carol Bicking. “The challenge process requires the voter to update their registration information which ensures they vote in the correct polling location and that their vote will be counted.”
Thanks to the efforts of Carol Bicking, Franklin County’s voter rolls are more accurate. A similar challenge effort continues in Hamilton County. Since 2013 the Hamilton County Board of Elections has approved more than 145 voter challenges which also identified people registered at demolished buildings. These challenges were submitted by Marlene Kocher and Karen Berter of Ohio Voter Integrity Project.
Ohio Voter Integrity Project was formed to promote public confidence in the integrity of local, state and federal elections in the State of Ohio. The group is a 501 (C)(4) non- non-profit corporation conducting research into public voter registration records. For more information, go to www.ohiovoterintegrityproject.org.