Created on Thursday, 23 May 2013 Written by JULIE CARR SMYTH,AP Statehouse Correspondent
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's elections chief said Thursday a first-of-its-kind statewide review found instances of voter fraud in the battleground state during last year's presidential election but not rampant abuses.
Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted said the investigation he ordered in January by Ohio's 88 county election boards resulted in 135 substantiated cases being referred to law enforcement for further investigation out of 625 reported cases of voting irregularities.
That included 20 individuals Husted was referring to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Thursday who appear to have registered and cast ballots in both Ohio and another state.
They included a man who voted in person in both Ohio and Kentucky on Election Day and a woman who cast an absentee ballot in Virginia then voted in person in Ohio.
"Voter fraud does exist, but it's not an epidemic," Husted said, noting fraud cases represent a tiny fraction of the 5.6 million Ohio votes cast last year.
Most of the 135 cases were caught before fraudulent votes were counted, Husted said.
Husted said boards of elections were also instructed to look for voter suppression, but no cases were documented of voters being denied ballots and no referrals were made.
Husted said the review was intended to put facts behind "a lot of pre-election hyperbole" Ohio voters face each election season, including allegations of systematic scheming by voter groups and political campaigns.
"In the aftermath of the election, time after time when things calm down, these issues go away, and then no one revisits them again until the next major election," he said. "What I wanted to do in the aftermath of the election was to get the facts."
Substantiated fraud involved double voting, voting for other people — including those who had died, and voting from an address from which the voter wasn't eligible.
Husted said he was ordering a further review Thursday of voters registered to a U.S. Postal Service or commercial mailbox storefront address. Under Ohio law, a voter can receive mail at such an address but must list a residence for voting purposes.