A Hamilton County Board of Elections hearing on Friday into possible vote fraud last November produced no Perry Mason moments but plenty of evidence of voter confusion – not over for whom to vote, but how to vote…
The case of Veronica Stearns, a 51-year-old Springfield Township voter, was typical of those heard Friday. Stearns acknowledged having cast an absentee ballot and then also voting a second time at her polling place on Election Day.
Stearns said she became concerned when a postal worker told her mother that absentee ballot envelopes without two stamps – hers had only one – would not be delivered. (In fact, the post office’s policy is to deliver such ballot envelopes, with boards of elections picking up the additional postage cost, said board member Caleb Faux.)
“The post office told my mom my vote wouldn’t be counted,” she said.
When she went to her polling place on Election Day, Stearns said, workers who she told that she already had voted absentee allowed her to cast a provisional ballot – the proper procedure.
Provisional ballots are cast when there is a question over a voter’s eligibility, often after a move, a name change or in cases when it is unclear whether a requested absentee ballot has actually been cast. After officials sort out the matter, they decide which, if any, of a voter’s ballots to count.
In instances in which both an absentee and Election Day ballot have been cast, the vote counted usually is the first one cast – the absentee….
Of course, some real voter fraud does occur including in Hamilton County. But don’t turn a very small problem into an epidemic of fraud.