Commission considers possible voter fraud in 2 cases; reviews ballots

The Jefferson County Election Commission considered two cases of possible voter fraud and reviewed several provisional ballots Thursday.

“The situation is that a voter who showed up to cast their ballot Tuesday was told by a poll worker that the record showed they had voted early,” Commission Chairman Trey Ashcraft said. “The voter said that they did not vote early and were allowed to cast a provisional ballot.”

Commission Secretary Stu Soffer asked Election Coordinator Will Fox to find out if the early voter who voted in the other person’s name showed an ID and if not whether the poll worker required them to tell their date of birth, address and name.

The second ballot involved a stolen ID.

“A person at a polling site used a stolen ID to vote in someone else’s name,” Ashcraft said. “The voter who’s ID was stolen showed up later at the same polling site to vote and was told that the record showed that he had already voted. The voter explained that his ID had been stolen and his signature matched what was in the voter record. The signature of the person who voted earlier was nothing like the signature in the record.”

Both ballots were disallowed and may be forwarded to the Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office pending further investigation by the commission, according to Fox.

Meanwhile, the commissioners disallowed other ballots they reviewed.

“We have several provisional ballots that were filled out by people who were not in the correct polling site,” Fox said. “Because they were at the wrong polling site, the ballot they filled out is wrong.”

Ashcraft asked if the panel wanted to take the parts of the ballot that are common, such as the vote for president and vice president, and count those votes as the commission had done previously or not count them since the voters were at the wrong polling sites.

“I make a motion to disallow based on the voters being at the wrong polling site,” Soffer said. “Each voter is entitled to a hearing. They will be notified by First Class Mail of the hearing date.”

The commissioners unanimously approved the motion to disallow the group of provisional ballots.

The commission set Wednesday at 6 p.m. as the date for the provisional ballot hearing as well as the official certification of the Nov. 6 general election vote.

Other business

The commission briefly discussed potential improvements to the early voting system including the possibility of moving early voting to the rotunda of the courthouse to allow for more voting booths to be installed as well as possibly moving early voting to another location in town.

No official action on the matter was taken at the meeting.