Pair of double votes caught in Belmont County

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Two instances of double voting were discovered before the Belmont County Board of Elections approved final results of the Nov. 8 midterm election on Monday.

The results will now be sent to the state.

Election Director Aaron Moore said an irregularity was found in which two voters cast absentee ballots and then voted provisionally on Election Day.

“We had two people who voted at the polls provisionally. When we reviewed their provisional ballots after the election, we realized that they voted absentee and they turned a ballot in and their absentee was accepted. So (it appears) someone was trying to vote twice. So we were able to catch that, and we are not counting the provisional ballots. So we will pass that information over to the prosecuting attorney,” Moore said. “We’re going to make sure that he can do the due diligence and the research to make sure that it was a mistake or not.”

According to Ohio Revised Code Section 3599.12, illegal voting of this type is a fourth-degree felony. Moore said instances of double-voting are rare.

“For us it seems to be unusual. We do have people that request absentee ballots that go to the polls on Election Day and vote provisionally, but they have not turned their ballots in and that’s fine,” Moore said. “Unfortunately, these two people, they did turn their absentee ballots in and did vote provisionally.”

Moore also told the board that 105 late absentee ballots were received, along with 241 provisional ballots.

All the race outcomes remained the same after 22,875 out of 44,829, or 51.03 percent, of registered voters in Belmont County cast their ballots.

The next board meeting was set for noon Dec. 12. The board will conduct a routine audit of the election, hand-counting 5 percent of the total votes. Precincts for the audit were selected at random.

In other matters, the board discussed the possibility of whether to retain paper-signature poll books at some of the outlying single-precinct sites. If there was an issue with electronic poll books, it would take about an hour for a maintenance person to arrive in more remote locations to make repairs.

“The amount of voters they have with the paper-signature poll books, they’ve never had any issues,” Moore said. “I want to put (electronic poll books) at all multi-precinct locations.”

Moore also addressed the storage of some records at the unused county habitation center. He said all necessary or historic records had been removed.

“It’s getting torn down. We still have some storage inside the building,” Moore said. “It was all old storage equipment that we did not need anymore. Any records that were in there were past the records retention schedule anyway, so they should have been destroyed.”


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