Ohio’s secretary of state subtly condemned the right-wing websites, including Breitbart, that published stories last week alleging that 170 listed registered voters in the state’s 12th Congressional District were over the age of 116.
The Breitbart piece accused “the Left” of seeking to “create conditions favorable for voter fraud in Ohio.” Other right-leaning publications, including the Daily Wire, the Western Journal and 100% Fed Up, also wrote up the allegations.
“Anytime you have a close election that receives intense local and national attention, like the one held last week for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, there will inevitably be those who seek to sow seeds of doubt about the process and call into question how the election has been administered,” Jon Husted said Monday in a statement.
The election result remains too close to call, though Republican Troy Balderson led Democrat Danny O’Connor by more than 1,700 votes. The district still needs to tally up absentee and provisional ballots before declaring a winner on Aug. 24. It also discovered an additional 588 uncounted votes last week.
Husted addressed his comments “to those who are attempting to mislead voters that county election officials are not counting all eligible ballots, or that somehow voter fraud is a problem in this election,” specifying that all eligible ballots will be counted.
Husted also dispelled any allegations of voter fraud. “During my tenure, we have removed more than 680,000 deceased voters, reconciled nearly 2 million duplicate registrations, and now have complete information on over 90 percent of voters – up from just 20 percent when I took office in 2011,” he said. “As I have always said, while voter fraud exists, it is rare and we hold those who commit it accountable.”
He concluded by asking the “bad actors” to stop trying to sow chaos.
Ohio has aggressively purged voter rolls for several years, arguing that the measures are necessary to keep registration lists up to date. Critics have said that the practice violates a federal law that prevents this from taking place. The Supreme Court ruled in June that the procedure was in fact lawful.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misspelled Jon Husted’s name. It has since been corrected.