Ohio Secretary of State launching unit to investigate voter fraud, suppression

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 1:24 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - Ohio’s Secretary of State announced Wednesday his office is launching a new public integrity division and hiring election investigators.

The move, however, is drawing criticism from political leaders on the other side of the aisle.

Frank LaRose, a Republican who is running for reelection, said the new division is part of an effort maintain Ohio’s “secure, accurate, and accessible elections.” He said the move consolidates the office’s existing functions to look into campaign finance reporting, voting system certification, voter registration integrity, data retention and transparency, cybersecurity protocols, and investigations into election law violations.

The Secretary of State’s office says voter fraud and suppression are rare in the state but it’s important Ohioans have confidence in their elections.

“This is a responsibility I take very seriously because this quite simply is about defending democracy,” LaRose said in a statement. “Our elections are being scrutinized like never before, and any lack of absolute confidence in the accuracy and honesty of those elections weakens the very foundation of our democracy. It’s the duty of my office to earn and maintain that trust.”

The Ohio Democratic Party is criticizing the move, calling it a waste of taxpayer dollars.

“Frank LaRose is using Ohioans’ hard-earned tax dollars for a political stunt so he can run for Senate in two years,” said ODP spokesperson Matt Keyes. “LaRose himself only turned over exactly one alleged case of illegal voting to the authorities earlier this year. Now he’s creating a taxpayer-funded solution to a problem that doesn’t exist in order to further his own political ambitions.”

The Secretary of State’s new Public Integrity Division launches on Oct. 10. You can read more about the initiative here. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 11 and early in-person voting begins on Oct. 12.

LaRose spoke with 13abc’s Josh Croup about the new public integrity unit on Wednesday. Watch the full Action News Now report with the interview below.

Ohio will hire elections investigators and create a new unit to investigate voter fraud and suppression. Josh Croup speaks with Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

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