Poll worker voted twice in November, board of elections says

Feb 12, 2014

A poll worker at an Avondale polling place who is alleged to have voted twice last in November’s election has been referred to the Hamilton County prosecutor for possible prosecution.

The county board of elections – two Democrats and two Republicans - voted unanimously Tuesday to send the case of veteran poll worker Ellen Duncan of Avondale to the prosecutor.

They took the action based on evidence from board of elections staff which showed that the 54-year-old Duncan voted early by absentee ballot and then cast a regular ballot on election day at the Urban League offices on Reading Road in Avondale, where she served as a Republican poll worker.

Both votes were counted.

“Whether or not there was criminal intent is something the prosecutor can figure out,” said Hamilton County Board of Elections chairman Tim Burke, who also chairs the county Democratic party. “But clearly she should have known better.”

Voter fraud is a fourth degree felony in Ohio, carrying a possible sentence of six to 18 months.

Board of election officials said Duncan had worked as an election day poll worker for 14 years.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Duncan told board members she didn’t remember casting an absentee ballot and apologized profusely, Burke said.

But board member Alex Triantafilou, the chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party, showed Duncan the original voter signature book from the precinct. It was clearly marked next to her name that she had already voted by absentee ballot.

Duncan is the second poll worker to have a voter fraud case sent to the prosecutor.

The first was Melowese Richardson, a Democratic poll worker at the Madisonville Recreation Center. She ended up being indicted on eight counts of voter fraud for casting ballots in the names of friends and family in multiple elections.

In July, Richardson was sentenced to five years in prison.