By Matt Hurley | Special to Ohio Watchdog
The Dayton Daily News reports that the Board of Elections in Montgomery County is dealing with what appears to be a serious case of registration fraud.
Apparently, an organization called The Ohio Organizing Campaign in Montgomery County has submitted more than 100 suspicious registrations from a single individual that allegedly have nonexistent addresses or other bad information. The group this individual belongs to is affiliated with another outfit that “unites community organizing groups, labor unions, faith organizations, and policy institutes across the state.”
While the Obama campaign continues to try to distract the Ohio Republican Party with frivolous lawsuits, there is a chance that the party could take their eye off the ball. Granted, each county board of elections has people from both parties watching for this sort of thing, and there are policies in place that catch most registration fraud. The truth is registration fraud does, although rarely, lead to voter fraud.
Voter fraud occurs when someone actually votes more than once in an election. Usually, but not exclusively, a successful vote fraud attempt is made in two counties. This is why it is so very important to have clean voter rolls statewide.
The punishment for a conviction of registration fraud is a $5,000 fine and jail time of six to 18 months. This is obscenely light considering the potential for mayhem registration fraud could cause, if committed on a wide scale with the intent of voter fraud on Election Day. Political organizations on both sides of the aisle have made it clear that fines and short sentences are insufficient deterrents to prevent other shenanigans.
If the only way to ensure our voter rolls are clean and good is to throw them all away and start over with in-person registration with valid photo identification, then both parties ought to set aside their differences and agree on that. There ought to be negotiations that ensure all of Ohio’s residents are properly identified to guarantee their vote is not compromised.
Ohio deserves an election system that is transparent and free of fraud. That starts with the registration process and stiffer penalties for fraud.