Ohio VIP Speaks up for Voters

Ohio VIP Speaks up for Voters

This op ed was published in the Cincinnati Enquirer on November 16, 2013 and was written by Ohio VIP innews announcer response to an article by the League of Women Voters (10/19/13).  


In response to the op-ed “League: Protect your right to vote” (Oct. 19), Ohio Voter Integrity Project’s mission is to do just that.

We have submitted more than 450 voter challenges and anomalies in Hamilton County since August 2012. Ohio VIP works to ensure that every eligible voter has the right to cast one ballot, regardless of age, race, income or political affiliation in accordance with state and federal election laws.

People who regularly attend the Hamilton County Board of Elections meetings know that our challenges have been unanimously upheld by the bipartisan board more than 97 percent of the time.

Ohio VIP voter challenges are based solely on incorrect registration addresses (i.e. vacant lots, business addresses, post offices, storage units, USPS and UPS stores, mail-forwarding centers, fictitious addresses, etc.) and challenged in accordance with the law. You must be registered to vote where you physically reside and intend to return. Challenges have led to voters updating their registrations to their current addresses.

This ensures that voters receive their absentee ballot requests by mail and vote in the correct precincts. It also helps reduce the number of provisional voters and long lines on Election Day. The investigation into voters who voted absentee and also voted provisionally (referred to in the League’s article) was the action of the Board of Elections, not Ohio VIP.

Ohio VIP’s efforts have uncovered non-Ohio residents voting in Ohio and voters illegally voting for persons other than themselves.

Our research into the 2012 general election has revealed that inadequacies in the provisional ballot envelope caused the rejection of potentially hundreds of provisional ballots. Deeply disturbed by this, we reported the issue to the Board of Elections and Tim Burke, board chairman, referred the findings to the Ohio secretary of state.

Also in connection with the 2012 general election, Ohio VIP reviewed voter registrations submitted by FieldWorks, a community organizing group out of New York, because FieldWorks claimed that some registrations were “potentially fraudulent.” We found this to be untrue, contacted registrants and encouraged them to contact the Board of Elections so that their voter registrations would not be thrown out.

Ohio VIP applauds the outstanding work of the board and appreciates the immeasurable cooperation from board staff in our mutual effort to accurately maintain the voter rolls in Hamilton County.

The League states that “citizens must speak up to protect the rights of voters.” That is what Ohio VIP has and will continue to do.

By helping to maintain the accuracy of our voter rolls and exposing voter fraud, Ohio VIP works to preserve the integrity of the vote for all, which is fundamental to our democracy.

Now that the truth is known, is Ohio VIP wasting the Board of Elections’ time or performing an important public service? You decide.

Mary Siegel, Denise Mayer and Marlene Kocher are the founders and leaders of Ohio Voter Integrity Project, a nonprofit founded in April 2012.

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