CINCINNATI – A Hamilton County poll worker and a Northern Kentucky man were indicted Wednesday on charges that they voted illegally in the 2013 November election.
The poll worker, Ellen Elizabeth Duncan, is accused of voting twice – by absentee ballot and at the polls -according to the prosecutor's spokesperson, Julie Wilson.
Timothy Merman lives in Kentucky but voted in Hamilton County by using his business address to register, Wilson said.
Both are charged with 4th-degree felonies.
Illegal voting was a hot issue in Hamilton County last year, when a poll worker and five others were charged.
"We see some of these shenanigans every year," said Board of Elections member Alex Triantafilou, head of the Hamilton County Republican party.
Triantafilou said Duncan, a Republican poll worker, was recently called to a hearing by the board.
"We learn about these anomalies and we investigate them," Triantafilou said.
"She was a poll worker in the same precinct where she voted. Presumably she gave herself a ballot. The poll book had 'absentee' on the line next to her name."
Mary Siegel of the Ohio Voter Integrity Project said she was at Duncan's hearing.
"She has been a poll worker for 14 years and she said it wasn't her job to understand the rules," Siegel said. "Poll workers get three hours of training and what she didn't understand was one of the first things poll workers learn."
Siegel said she personally challenged Merman's address to the BOE.
"One of the things we do is research voter registrations at commercial addresses," Siegel said. "We got a tip from a poll worker that the address he gave was a family business in Fairfax.
"I researched it and I even drove by it," Siegel said.
Her group has had about 600 successful voter challenges in the past two years, Siegel said.
The Ohio VIP is a non-partisan, non-profit grassroots effort to educate and involve citizens in the electoral process, Siegel said.
"We're not trying to kick people off the voter rolls. We're really trying to educate people about updating their addresses. If they update their address, they won't have any trouble and they won't have to vote a provisional ballot," Siegel said.
Another Hamilton County poll worker, Melowese Richardson, pleaded guilty to illegal voting last year and was sentenced to five years in prison.
Richardson, a Democratic poll worker, admitted to four counts of illegal voting in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Four other counts were dropped in exchange for Richardson's plea.
Richardson also had a long list of previous charges including witness harassment, theft and assault, and Judge Robert P. Ruehlman cited those when he sentenced her.
Ruehlman released her in March after she served eight months.
Others charged with voter fraud in 2012 in Hamilton County included:
> Sister Marge Kloos, a dean at the College of Mount St. Joseph, admitted submitting an absentee ballot for her roommate, Sister Rose Marie Hewitt, after Hewitt died.
> Russell Glassop admitted that he submitted his wife's absentee ballot after she died.
Kloos and Glossop were accepted into a diversion program that allowed their records to be expunged.