Despite concerns, election boards not seeing voter registration challenges, voter intimidation

Warren County man wants to monitor ballot drop box video

Ohio county boards of election have not received voter registration challenges from a conservative group that announced it would raise those challenges even though the deadline to do so before the Nov. 8 election has passed, according to Aaron Ockerman, executive director of the Ohio Association of Election Officials.

“I haven’t heard that the issues around challenges that we were concerned about have materialized, which is a welcomed development this election,” Ockerman said.

Credit: Lynn Hulsey

Credit: Lynn Hulsey

Earlier this month Look Ahead America founder and executive director, Matt Braynard, announced that the group had funds to conduct a “pre-election audit of voter lists in nine states to identify voters that are candidates for removal due to illegitimate addresses or having moved permanently out of state.”

The group said it would challenge voter registrations and absentee ballots in Ohio, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Braynard could not be reached for comment.

Warren County Board of Elections Director Brian Sleeth, who is president of the statewide group, said he also has not heard of boards receiving challenges from Look Ahead America, which announced its plan even though Ohio law says voter registration challenges can be made no later than 30 days before the election.

The group’s plan raised concerns for elections officials and voting rights advocates that it would sow distrust in the state’s elections process, in which confirmed cases of election fraud are extremely rare.



“There is not widespread fraud. After years of voter records maintenance, Ohio’s voter lists are cleaner than they have ever been. Every election in Ohio is audited and (that has) repeatedly proven the accuracy of our elections,” Sarah Greathouse, deputy director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections, said earlier this month.

Sleeth and Ockerman also said they are not hearing of voters having problems with intimidation at early voting centers or absentee ballot drop boxes, which allow people to turn in their ballots at the election’s board office rather than using the U.S. Postal Service.

In late October Arizona law enforcement responded to two armed individuals in tactical gear who were at a Maricopa County ballot drop box and there were additional complaints about voters being filmed and followed at drop boxes, raising fears of voter intimidation, according to NPR.

“With regard to drop boxes, I’m hoping we don’t have the same problems they did in Arizona since all of our boxes are located at boards of election,” Ockerman said.

Former Springboro School Board member Jim Rigano requested a copy of drop box security videos from Sleeth’s office and asked that the video be posted to the board website.

Rigano told Sleeth he planned to make regular requests for the video, “review the surveillance video and will report any suspicious activity,” according to Rigano’s email to Sleeth.

Rigano believes ballot drop boxes are “a major vulnerability in the election system” and he wants to assist the elections board in monitoring the people who use the drop box, Rigano said in an email to the Dayton Daily News.

Citing the widely widely debunked Dinesh D’Souza film “2,000 Mules,” Rigano said he believes fraudulent “ballot trafficking” occurred in other states.

The Associated Press reported that the film “uses a flawed analysis of cellphone location data and ballot drop box surveillance footage to cast doubt on the results of the 2020 presidential election.”

Sleeth forwarded Rigano’s request to the county administrator and said he has no concerns about the county’s drop box video being released.

With former President Donald Trump and multiple Republican candidates spreading the falsehood that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump by widespread voter fraud, conservative groups in several states have questioned absentee ballots cast in this year’s primary elections and challenged voter registrations in multiple states, according to a Sept. 28 New York Times story.

Multiple investigations, election audits and court rulings nationwide, along with Trump’s then-Attorney General William Barr, found no evidence of widespread fraud or election problems that would have changed the fact that Democrat Joe Biden won the majority of the popular and electoral college votes.

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