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Ohio sees red wave amid Secretary of State’s election integrity measures

As vote counts resumed in Arizona’s gubernatorial and senatorial elections days after November 8, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose shared his outspoken views on the issue on Twitter.

“Dear Arizona, do you need advice on how to conduct an election properly?” said LaRose, a Republican who was elected to a different term. “Your process is obviously not working.”

LaRose commended his office’s emphasis on electoral integrity and the county electoral authorities’ commitment to providing timely reports on races.

“Election night results were reported on election night, and that’s something that Ohioans are expecting,” LaRose told Fox News last week.

Epoch Times photo
Republican Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was reelected to a second term on November 8, 2022. (Everitt Townsend)

On November 19, the only General Assembly race in question was held in a suburb of Columbus, where incumbent Democratic state representative Richard Brown trailed by a narrow margin of 16,921 to 16,825 behind Republican challenger Ronald Beach IV, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.

Preliminary votes are expected to determine the outcome.

While Republicans are not doing as well as expected nationally, Ohio experienced a red tsunami that further strengthened the party’s statewide influence.

When the final results are announced, Republicans will have a supermajority of 68-21 or 67-22, depending on the winner.

Ohio Senate Republicans added a seat, expanding their control to 26–7.

Prior to Election Day, Ohio Republicans had a super majority of 64 to 35 over Democrats in the Ohio House of Representatives and a super majority of 25 to 8 in the Ohio Senate.

The GOP swept every statewide race by double-digit margins. Gov. Mike DeWine beat Democrat and former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley by more than 25 percent.

LaRose, Attorney General Dave Yost, Treasurer Robert Sprague and Comptroller Keith Faber also decisively won re-election.

Republicans also retained control of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Sharon Kennedy will serve as the state’s next Chief Justice, and Justices Pat DeWine and Pat Fischer will return for another six-year term.

In the state’s most important race, Republican JD Vance defeated Democratic US Rep. Tim Ryan to replace retiring Republican Senator Rob Portman.

Though Donald Trump-backed JR Majewski lost his bid to replace longtime Democratic Congressman Marcy Kaptur in Northwest Ohio and 13-year-old Republican Rep. Steve Chabot fell to Democrat Greg Landsman in Southwest Ohio, Republicans claimed 10 of the 15 seats of the state’s US House of Representatives.

Max Miller, who served as an advisor to former President Trump, won in a district formerly represented by Republican Anthony Gonzalez, who voted to impeach Trump.

Like Florida — where Republicans have had resounding victories in the elections for governor, House of Representatives, Senate and General Assembly — Ohio is a state that has taken steps to improve electoral integrity in recent years.

In 2021, Ohio completed a purge of 97,795 voter registrations.

State law dictates that voters who do not cast ballots for six consecutive years or do not respond to notices asking them to update their registration may be removed from the lists.

Voters can avoid cancellation by submitting an absentee ballot application or by completing a registration form with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

In October, LaRose announced the formation of the Public Integrity Division, created to consolidate all of the Secretary of State’s investigations into voter fraud into one department.

The department investigates coverage of campaign finance, cybersecurity, voting systems certification, voter registration integrity and voting rights violations, among others, in the Ohio voting system, LaRose said.

“Our office has had that responsibility for a long time, but we’ve never had true professional investigators who can deal with the facts, gather information, and make sure we bring bad guys to justice,” LaRose told reporters after the announcement.

Although LaRose said there was a “crisis of confidence” in the statewide election process, he added that Ohio was one of the nation’s leading providers of safe, accurate, and accessible elections.

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

“I think Ohio runs elections better than any other state,” LaRose added. “There are many reasons Ohio residents should feel confident about their elections. I want it known that if you commit an election-related crime in Ohio, you will be caught and brought to justice, and that’s what this division is about.”

Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose
Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose speaks at the Ohio Statehouse on October 6, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Julie Carr Smyth/AP Photo)

On November 8, Ohio residents overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment that would require only adult US citizens who have been legally resident in Ohio and have been registered as voters for at least 30 days to vote in future state and local elections.

Prior to the passage of the law, the Ohio Constitution provided that “every citizen of the United States who is 18 years of age and has been eligible to vote for 30 days is entitled to vote in all elections.”

The state constitution did not say that non-citizens cannot vote.

Federal laws prohibit noncitizens from voting in federal elections.

A 1917 Ohio Supreme Court ruling found that the state constitution’s self-government, which gives cities control of their local affairs, gave municipalities permission to expand voting rights in city elections.

The change, which was Issue 2 on the ballot, ensures a city’s house rules don’t circumvent the law that only adult US citizens can cast ballots.

The measure passed smoothly through the Republican-controlled Ohio Legislature earlier this year.

LaRose has said that giving non-citizens the right to vote would “depreciate the value of citizenship.”

“State law has always been clear that only US citizens can vote in state elections, and there is federal law preventing non-citizens from voting in federal elections,” LaRose said in a statement.

Simply put, LaRose added, the change should be viewed as “common sense.”

“Issue 2 is really just going to codify into our state constitution what has long been accepted and that the right to vote in Ohio is a right reserved exclusively for US citizens,” LaRose said ahead of Election Day.

Jeff Louderback

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Jeff Louderback is a national reporter for The Epoch Times, based in Ohio, covering the US Senate, US House of Representatives and governor races in Ohio and surrounding states.

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