Thursday, November 19th, 2020
2 voters, same name - there was no voter fraud
By William Kincaid
CELINA - Despite an earlier concern, authorities have determined that no voter fraud was committed during the presidential election in Mercer County.
Mercer County Board of Elections directors at Tuesday's regular meeting reported that a woman may have attempted to vote twice during the 2020 presidential election cycle, once in Mahoning County and once in Mercer County.
Board members agreed to launch a criminal investigation into the matter, as 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.
Turns out, the votes were in fact cast by two different voters, a sheriff's office investigation concluded on Wednesday, according to a board of elections news release.
"The Board of Elections can now report that the investigation revealed that there was no voter fraud. The investigation found two female voters who share the same first name, middle name and date of birth," the release states. "They have different last names and the sheriff's office has confirmed that they are, in fact, two different people, one living in Mercer County and one living in Mahoning County."
The board thanked the sheriff's office for conducting a swift and efficient investigation.
"The Board of Elections apologizes to all parties concerned and regrets any inconvenience caused," the release reads. "Finally, because of the importance of the integrity of all elections, the Board will continue to exercise due diligence and remain vigilant when reviewing all potential allegations of election fraud."
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's name 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 came to believe that the person in question had previously voted absentee in-person under the name Christina Lloyd in Mahoning County on Oct. 27. The investigation cleared up the matter.