Wednesday, November 18th, 2020
Elections board probes possible illegal vote
Woman reportedly tried to vote twice
By William Kincaid
Mercer County Board of Elections Deputy Director Kristi Rable on Tuesday confers. . .
CELINA - Mercer County Board of Elections members on Tuesday moved to launch a criminal investigation into the matter of a woman who allegedly attempted to vote twice during the 2020 presidential election cycle.
State law prohibits any person from voting or attempting to vote more than once at the same election. Such a violation would be a fourth-degree felony.
While conducting the official canvass of the election, board members learned a woman reportedly tried to vote twice, once in Mercer County and once in Mahoning County.
On Oct. 30, a woman who identified herself as Christina Houts of Celina tried to vote absentee in-person at the county courthouse, according to director Deb Sneddon and deputy director Kristi Rable.
The poll workers could not locate the woman in the county's poll book, which contains addresses and political affiliations of the county's registered voters. Therefore the woman was issued a provisional ballot, Rable said.
Upon further review, election officials, using Social Security numbers and birthdates, learned the person in question had allegedly voted absentee in-person under the name Christina Lloyd in Mahoning County on Oct. 27, Sneddon said.
"She is registered in Mahoning so that's where we sent our provisional to verify, and they came back and said, 'She is registered here, but she voted in-person on 10-27,'" Rable said.
"It's just odd that it was three days apart. It's not like you forget," board chairwoman Toni Slusser mused aloud.
"Is there any way of finding out, did she go to any other counties?" board member Phil Long asked.
That question will be addressed in an investigation, Rable indicated.
"I think when they couldn't find her in the poll book, they sent her on to vote provisionally, and that's how you catch these things," Rable said.
"And that's why we have provisional voting. So the system worked," board member Craig Klopfleisch added.
The woman technically didn't vote twice as board members agreed not to count the provisional ballot on Tuesday because of the irregularities, Sneddon said.
It's up to investigators to determine why the person in question attempted to vote twice, she added.
"If I recall correctly, there was some call for people to try to vote twice so, I mean, I think that's why we have to investigate, if it was purposeful action," Klopfleisch said.
County assistant prosector Andy Hinders did not return a call seeking comment on what the investigation would entail.