While it’s difficult to discern the motives of the community organizers and union groups, we can try to determine whether they are breaking any laws. As a precinct election official and presiding judge in Ohio, I’d like to shed some light on alleged violations of Ohio voting laws discussed in the interviews. Should we be concerned that illegal aliens will steal the election in the Buckeye State? Back in September I explained “how to commit voter fraud in Ohio.” Unfortunately, the activities at the Morse Road location in Franklin County are a case study in how easy it would be to game the system here.
Ohio has some of the most generous early voting laws in the country, allowing voters to cast absentee ballots by mail or in person through the day before the election. The identification requirements for these early voters are less stringent than for voters on Election Day. Early voters need only provide a driver’s licence number (they needn’t show the license) or the last four numbers of their social security number or a copy of a state/military ID or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document. When voting in person before Election Day, no one examines these documents. The voter writes the identifying information on the form along with his name, address, and date of birth and signs it. The poll worker checks the name and address (but does not examine the ID) to see if it matches the name of a registered voter in the county. If everything is in order, the voter is processed and permitted to vote.
At the Morse Road voting location, Brenner interviewed Mike Neutzling, a Columbus resident and self-described “Tea Party Republican,” who reported seeing a “mass influx” of people being brought into the polling location by “what appeared to be union operatives with union transportation.” He said that one day he saw “20-30 Somali women in native garb who didn’t appear to be able to speak English.” Neutzling wondered if they were American citizens and added that precinct officials “won’t take ID from you, even if you try to force it.” He said it was their protocol not to check ID. In fact, this is the proper protocol under the Ohio Revised Code.
Another issue that comes up in Brenner’s interviews is whether the people being bused in by the unions are American citizens. First, let me say that I am not advocating singling people out because of the way they are dressed or the way they look. That’s not a reason to pull someone out of the line on Election Day. My own grandparents were immigrants who spoke broken English and dressed like they were “from the old country,” as they called it. My grandmother always wore a babushka when she left the house and looked very different from the grandmothers of my anglo friends, so I understand the concerns. My intent is to address the election law issues as they relate to this story.