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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

Former poll worker pleads no contest in vote fraud

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Howard Wilkinson
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Melowese Richardson, the Madisonville poll worker accused for voting illegally for herself and others over three elections, entered no contest pleas in court this morning to four of the eight charges against her.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman accepted the plea bargain reached between Richardson's attorney and assistant county prosecutor William Anderson and found Richardson guilty of four counts of illegal voting.

The other four counts were dismissed.

The 58-year-old Richardson, a long-time poll worker at the Madisonville Recreation Center, will undergo a pre-sentence investigation and be sentenced by Ruehlman on July 9. She faces the possibility of up to 18 months in jail on each of the charges, which are fourth degree felonies.

Richardson appeared in court Tuesday morning with her lawyer, William Gallagher, at her side; and told Ruehlman that she fully understood that by pleading no contest she was admitting to the facts of the crime.

Richardson voted twice for herself in the 2012 election; and in elections in 2012, 2011 and 2009, she cast ballots for a number of friends and family members - one of whom was in a coma at the time.

She is the third person convicted in a wide-ranging investigation of voter fraud by the Hamilton County Board of Elections that has resulted in six indictments so far.

Earlier this month, Russell Glossop, a 74-year-old Symmnes Township man, entered a guilty plea to a charge of illegal voting by casting an absentee ballot last fall for his dead wife. He will do no jail time; and will be placed in a diversion program. If he does not get in any more trouble, his record will be expunged and he will be allowed to vote again.

The same is true of Sister Marguerite Kloos, a Sister of Charity who had cast a ballot for another nun who had died last fall before absentee ballots had been mailed out. She, too, was placed in a diversion program.