PHOTOS / VIDEOS: Morse Road Early Voter Center – Columbus, Ohio
On Wednesday, I visited the Morse Road Early Voting Center in Columbus, Ohio, the Franklin County voting center in question in my October 26 story for Human Events.
In the pictures (below this posting), the 100 foot line is clearly marked in yellow paint on the pavement outside of the voting center. While I did not see any of the volunteers crossing it, I did see a Democrat volunteer yell at people inside of the 100 foot line, asking if they would like a Democrat ballot.
Steve Scheel is a union electrician in Columbus, Ohio, a Democrat, and says he was never forced to vote Democrat but that “it was presented fairly hard how to vote.” This time, he is supporting Mitt Romney. He was working at the Republican booth at the voting center, standing just beyond the 100 foot line.
When asked what he has seen at the voting center, he said there is “downright hate,” and you “can’t have conversation.” He also said, “they’re making it awful [sic] easy to be illegal here – it’s scary. … No identification. … They’re just making it too easy, it’s scary – it’s just scary.” When asked about needing identification inside, Scheel explained, “You don’t need anything inside there ma’am, you don’t need any identification whatsoever. … If anybody stole your wallet, they would have that identification. It just makes it easy for something to happen. It’s scary.”
Scheel also confirmed seeing van loads of Somalis brought to this center to vote.
Like other witnesses I have interviewed, Scheel also remembers when busloads of Ohio State students were brought to the voting center after a rally when President Obama visited the University. A group called Buckeyes for Obama has held a series of early vote rallies, advertised as, “Free Food. Come Together. Make History.” The students are bused to the early voting center on Morse Road in order to vote, and they are fed pizza. This could be illegal since the law prohibits trading something of value for someone’s vote; therefore, the Ohio Republican Party has filed a complaint with the Franklin County Board of Elections over this incident. However, the votes that were cast cannot be challenged or reversed.
Inside the voting center, I was able to walk up to the front desk and obtain an absentee ballot request form without showing any form of identification, as a video and audio recording provided will verify. Upon check-in, I also asked about a person we will simply identify as “J,” the sole Republican Somali interpreter according to the Franklin County Board of Elections Public Information Officer, Ben Piscitelli. I was unable to meet J as I attempted to do. As the video and audio will verify, I was told they were “extremely busy,” even though the amusement park style line mazes were approximately three-fourths empty. After forcing the issue, the gentleman in the video did point out to me who J is, and assuming that was indeed J, I visually saw him working at one of the machines. There have been reports that there is not a Republican interpreter available. Depending on whom a voter may ask, it is possible someone is told that there is not a Republican interpreter considering no one knew who J was until the fourth person with whom I spoke.
It also seems that the poll workers may not be completely trained. One of the representatives specifically told me that you only had to show a utility bill if you “changed your address,” and that you still had to write down another form of identification. However, one can see clearly on the absentee ballot form (see photo) that this is not the case. It states “OR” between all of the options, with a utility bill or other documentation being listed as one of the options. Someone can indeed, according to the form and the Secretary of State’s web site, do as I proposed in the October 26 article – get an apartment, turn on the heat, take a Columbia Gas bill in to register to vote, and then present that same bill again when he or she votes. Additionally, Ohio has a 5 day “golden week” during which someone may register to vote and vote at the same time, eliminating the need to return or have documents available for a second polling center visit.
In the parking lot, Richard Justman has been sitting in his large van observing the outside, carnival-like atmosphere. Justman has also seen busloads of “foreigners” brought to the voting center. He said they get out of the van with the Democrat literature in their hand, and “a lot of people that can’t speak English seem to be coming in to vote.” The question, then, is whether these people are citizens if they are not speaking English. Justman asks, “Who’s tending the shop?” Justman has spoken with hundreds of voters, and said that today he spoke with a woman who saw another person filling out eight cards to vote. “There is certainly a suspicion there that something is out of order. … Why would they give somebody eight cards to fill out?”
Apparently, deceased voters are not removed from the voter rolls in Ohio in a prompt manner, either. Justman’s mom passed away six months ago, but he received his mother’s absentee voter request form in the mail. “At best, it was a 50 cent stamp wasted. … At worst, if we would have been dishonest and sent it back in, there would have been no way they could have checked that. We could have actually voted for her!” According to Justman, his friend’s grandmother has been deceased for 3 ½ years and received an absentee voter request form in the mail, as well. “Both parties are supposed to be watching the shop. … Why have not [sic] either party made an issue of removing these deceased people from the voter rolls?”
“I believe there’s guilt to be shouldered on both parties,” Justman said. “Both parties are administratively guilty of dereliction of duty.”