New Hamilton County voter fraud probe begins

47 people allegedly registered from UPS stores

CINCINNATI - New allegations of possible voter fraud surfaced Tuesday and the Hamilton County Board of Elections immediately began an investigation.

Marlene Hess Kocher of the Voter Integrity Project gave board members documents claiming that 47 people registered to vote last year and listed their addresses as eight of the 10 UPS stores in Hamilton County.

Subpoenas will be issued to UPS store owners to try and gather more information about the voting status of each person.

"It may be convenient for folks to do that for the purpose of receiving mail, but you cannot be a registered voter from a post office box," said Board of Elections Chairman Tim Burke, a Democrat. "You have to register where you live."

Republican board member Alex Triantafilou said it's hard to detect those kinds of problems just by looking at addresses on paper.

"If the address comes up as a street address with a number almost looking like an apartment, you don't know until you take the next step to see where the address is," he said. "You can't identify it as a p.o. box."

Burke said it doesn't appear to be any kind of organized effort by one political party or another.

"It's a very mixed bag of Democrats, Republicans and Independent voters," he said. "I think only about a dozen of them actually voted last November."

However, Triantafilou said even that number is a problem because people may be voting on issues that they're not entitled to consider.

"If your p.o. box is in the city of Cincinnati and you live in Anderson Township, you're not eligible to cast a ballot for city-related issues," he said. "So, you've really committed a fraud on the system if you've done that."

There is a way people can vote on Election Day even if they're not sure where they'll be living. They can go to the polling place where they're staying and request a provisional ballot. It won't be counted until the address is verified.

There have been some instances in the past where police officers have registered to vote using the police station address because they don't want their home address to become public record.

"When we found out about that and we've called it to their attention and told them they can't do that and need to correct it, they typically do," Burke said. "I think most of these voters will do the same."

If the investigation turns up voter fraud, the charge is a felony.

A Hamilton County Grand Jury has already indicted three people on voter fraud charges -- a man who allegedly voted for his late wife, a nun and a Madisonville woman whom investigators say may have voted several times.

In addition, the board may review cases next month of a Kentucky resident possibly voting in Ohio and a disabled man whose caregiver might have filled out his ballot.

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