Just Keep Telling Yourself Vote Fraud Does Not Exist: the OH-12 Edition (UPDATE)

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UPDATE: Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, issued a statement, a week after the election to address those rumors. He said, in part:

Aug. 13 statement: First, I can assure all voters who participated in last Tuesday’s election that all eligible ballots will be counted – no exceptions. It is also important to keep in mind that the results provided on Tuesday are unofficial and the official results will not be available until county boards of elections complete the official canvass, which must be done by August 24.

As to concerns of potential voter fraud, my office has done a lot to clean up the voter rolls. During my tenure, we have removed more than 680,000 deceased voters, reconciled nearly two million duplicate registrations, and now have complete information on over 90 percent of voters – up from just 20 percent when I took office in 2011. As I have always said, while voter fraud exists, it is rare and we hold those who commit it accountable.


Back in June, the US Supreme Court upheld a ballot integrity law passed by the state of Ohio. The law simply allowed voting officials to purge the voting rolls of people who had moved or couldn’t be proven to exist. The “vote fraud doesn’t exist” crowd was in an uproar. As it turns out, Ohio had a damned good reason for doing this.

UPDATE: This article has been retracted after being flagged by Factcheck.org. Here is their response:

According to the most recent version of the roll for that district, there are 161 registered voters who have a birthdate listed as Jan. 1, 1800 or Jan. 1, 1900. But those dates are just place holders for voters who registered before birthdates became a required part of the registration process in 1974. They are not their real birthdates.

Ohio actually has a system for purging inactive voters from the rolls — so people who have moved, or have died, are taken off the rolls. If a person doesn’t vote for four consecutive years after failing to return a confirmation of address postcard sent by the state, his or her name is removed from the list of eligible voters. That system was just upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in June.

Although we couldn’t talk to everyone registered in the 12th District who was listed as being born in 1800 or 1900, we did talk to some of them and can confirm that they are living, breathing, eligible voters.

Charles Hacker, of Mansfield, Ohio, is one of them. He registered to vote in 1973, according to the voter roll, and his birthdate is listed as Jan. 1, 1800. But he was actually born in 1944, he told FactCheck.org in a phone interview. He’s 74 years old.

Similarly, Karen Morris, also of Mansfield, registered to vote in 1972, according to the roll. Her birthdate is also listed as Jan 1, 1800, but she was actually born in 1946.

“We’re both dedicated voters,” her husband, Larry Morris, told us in a phone interview. In fact, when they went to vote in the special election on Aug. 7, he said, one of the election officials told his wife, “You look awful young for having an 1800 birthday.” His wife had been unaware of the place holder date and changed it at that point. “I hope they get it straight now,” he said.

So, those voters that Eggers questioned may well live in that district — Charles Hacker and Karen Morris do. And they’re much younger than 116.


So, nothing to see here, folks. Move along. I’ve left the offending text below in the interests of transparency.

Yesterday, I posted on the still-tentative win by Republican Troy Balderson in the special election in OH-12. Balderson squeaked out a 0.9 percentage point win. The non-profit watchdog group Government Accountability Institute did a review of Ohio’s voter lists before the election. OH-12 has 170 voters who are older than 116. Of that 170, 124 were born in 1800. Seventy-two of the 170 showed up to vote in 2016.

Superannuated voters aren’t unheard of. Like this from the Washington Times:

In the recent research, Allegheny County’s voter rolls for the April 26, 2016 primary election reveal that 367 people were listed with birthdates of 1/1/1800. Another 106 had birthdates from 1890 to 1915, with voters’ ages ranging from 101 to 126.

In the 2014 mid-term election, 427 people in Allegheny County who voted had birthdates of 1/1/1800, and 108 had birthdates from 1890 to 1914 (ages 100 to 114 at the time of voting). This includes 58 aged 110 or more.

In 2010, the United States Census found only 330 “super centenarians,” that is, people 110 or older, in the entire nation. However, voter rolls in the three combined Pennsylvania counties turned up at least 176 “super centenarians” who voted in 2012, not counting the hundreds listed with the 1/1/1800 birthdate, who could be of any age.

Some people have claimed this is all data entry error, but that is highly unlikely given the lack of random distribution in birthdays. In addition, this date of birth is visible on the poll book of the worker at voter check-in, so, in the case of the 72 worthy ancients who showed up to vote in 2016, someone knew the birthday was fake and issued a ballot anyway.


Vote fraud is real and it is pervasive in some jurisdictions. In some places, it seems like it is so common that no one even bothers to hide it. Instead of looking under our beds for Russians or worrying about them hacking voting equipment that is not connected to the internet, how about we clean up the voter rolls and require an ID to vote? Surely it should be at least as difficult to have a voice in the fate of the nation as it is to buy a six-pack of cheap beer.

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