Seventeen non-citizens voted in the November 2012 election in Ohio, Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Wednesday morning, but he acknowledged that there’s no evidence of an organized effort to register non-citizens. “It exists, it’s rare, violators will be held accountable,” Husted said of non-citizen voting during a press conference at his Columbus office. Around 5.63 million total votes were cast in the election. The announcement comes as state Republicans are preparing to pass a slew of voting restrictions next month. In addition to the 17 non-citizens who voted, another 274 non-citizens registered to vote, added Husted, a Republican. He said they all had provided paperwork to the state’s motor vehicles department, both before and after the November 2012 election, demonstrating their non-citizenship status. But he allowed that some of the 274 could have become citizens since registering.
Husted said the 17 cases would be turned over to the Attorney General’s office for possible prosecution. All 17 non-citizen voters are in the U.S. legally, he noted.
A voter ID requirement would not have stopped any of the 17 from voting, since they all had driver’s licenses, Husted said. He added that there’s nothing that points to an organized conspiracy of non-citizen voting.
“This seems to be an act of individuals,” he said. “There does not seem to be any evidence of a concerted effort to register non-citizens.”