Site Map
Voting News
Contact Us
About Us

is NOT!
associated with

29 voters cast ballots twice

Summit County Board of Elections meets Tuesday to deal with double votes, provisional ballots, other election issues

By Lisa A. Abraham

Akron Beacon Journal   14 November 2004

For at least 29 Summit County residents, voting once apparently wasn't good enough this year.

The apparent double voters were discovered as county Board of Elections workers were verifying the 5,932 provisional ballots cast on Election Day, said Elections Director Bryan Williams.

The board is scheduled to meet Tuesday to deal with the double votes, provisional ballots and other issues that have cropped up from the general election.

Election staffers are still investigating the ballots.

Williams said it appeared that most of the residents voted absentee and then showed up at the polls and were given provisional ballots.

A few double votes are typical in any election, but this number is unique, he said.

So far, board staffers haven't been able to determine if the voting appears to be an attempt at intentional fraud or rather than simple mistakes.

``Usually, when somebody votes twice, it's a senior who voted absentee and then went to the polls by accident and voted again,'' Williams said.

Poll workers apparently caught the suspected double voting, because they required those voters to cast provisional ballots, he said.

The board may simply vote to reject that group of provisional ballots, but board staffers are still investigating the circumstances of each case. Williams said if workers find strong evidence of voter fraud, he would recommend that the board refer those cases to the county prosecutor. Voting twice is a fourth-degree felony.

The board is expected to vote on some of the cases Tuesday and some at a meeting scheduled for Nov. 30.

Beyond the 29 questionable ballots, Williams said most of the county's provisional ballots appear to be valid.

``It's still safe to say 90 percent or more of the provisionals cast will qualify for counting. Ten percent or less, based on what we're seeing, will be disqualified for one reason or another,'' he said.

About 150 of the provisional ballots do not have a signed affidavit on the outside of their envelopes a requirement for them to be accepted. However, Williams said it appears the affidavits may be inside the sealed envelopes that contain the ballots.

``They are missing the signed affidavit, but when you hold it up to the light, it looks like it's inside,'' he said. ``If they are signed, they will count. There has to be a signature somewhere.''

A few of the provisional ballots appear to be cast in the wrong precinct, which by federal court order should be rejected. Some others appear to be cast by people who were never registered to vote. ``They just showed up for the party,'' Williams said.

He said there are about 25 ballots that were returned damaged, and the board will have to vote on whether to remake them.

Most of the damaged punch cards appear to be from being ed into voting machines incorrectly backwards or upside down, he said.

In those cases, what typically happens are marks or holes being punched into the ballot card, rather than its chads. The result is a pockmarked, unpunched card.

Williams said the board will have to decide whether it's possible to determine the intent of those votes and whether the cards should be remade so that they can be counted. If the damaged cards are fed into the counter as they are, they would not register votes.

The board also will have to determine what to do about absentee ballots that were received by the board after the 7:30 p.m. deadline on Election Day.

Included among those ballots are some cast by hospital patients on Election Day. By law, anyone admitted to the hospital because of a medical emergency can request an absentee ballot by 3 p.m. on Election Day.

At that point, a family member can come in to pick up and return the ballot. However, if that can't be arranged, the board must send out bipartisan teams to hospitals to conduct the voting.

There was a great deal of confusion at the board on Election Day over the hospital ballots, and it was 6 p.m. before the teams headed out to four different hospitals in the county to conduct voting.

Board members Wayne Jones and Russ Pry, both Democrats, have expressed anger over the situation, particularly when staffers suggested that the task of voting all of the hospital patients would not likely be possible by the 7:30 p.m. deadline.

Jones has vowed that he will vote to make sure the hospital absentee ballots are counted, despite when they were returned to board offices, because they had been requested in time and it was the board's fault that they didn't send out teams sooner in the day.

Williams stressed that problems with voting were few, particularly considering the higher voter turnout for this presidential election 74.7 percent compared to 64 percent in 2000 was on top of increased voter registration.

More than 48,000 more votes were cast in Summit County this year than in 2000, according to board of elections data.

Previous Page

Election Problem Log image
2004 to 2009


Accessibility Issues
Accessibility Issues

Cost Comparisons
Cost Comparisons

Flyers & Handouts

VotersUnite News Exclusives

Search by

Copyright © 2004-2010 VotersUnite!