Election /

Fraud Allegations In Yesterday's Ohio's Special Election Are False, Official Says

Speculation about irregularities that went viral on social media was fueled by individuals who 'failed to report all the facts'

Rumors of systemic voting issues during yesterday’s special election in Ohio in two jurisdictions have turned out to be false, despite the claims having now gone viral on social media.

At 7:28 a.m., Mike Holden, a reporter with News 5 Cleveland, shared a video on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, while he was at a polling location. The video showed several machines that had ballot reading errors displaying the message: “Your ballot was NOT counted. There is a ballot jam in the front and the back. Ask a poll worker for help.”

The post accompanying the video said: “ALL ballot scanners are down & not working at Cuyahoga Falls polling location. Voters & workers frustrated. Ballots either placed in orange bag & scanned later OR can void ballot & come back later.”

Almost immediately, the video was seized upon by many on social media who used the incident to suggest that widespread, systemic problems were being undertaken intentionally to influence the outcome of the election.

One America News posted from its official account that “Something fishy is going on in Cuyahoga Falls.”

Independent journalist Emerald Robinson posted on the platform telling her more than 618,000 followers: “The voting machines stopped working in Ohio just in time to help the Democrats again.”

Former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake — whose 2022 election was marked by chain of custody issues that led to tens of thousands of ballots being counted in violation of state law — replied to Holden’s video, writing to her 1.4 million followers: “Sound familiar?? Looks like they took a page out of the Maricopa County ‘selections’ playbook,” referencing the irregularities in her own election contest.

Best-selling author Bridgette Gabriel suggested election meddling, telling her more than 909,000 followers: “WOW. Ballot scanners in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio have not been working for their special election today. We need to get rid of these machines!”

But, in a lengthy thread, journalist Kevin R. Kosar, whose work frequently appears in the publication The Hill, exposed the allegations of fraud as incorrect, saying Holden incited a “MAGA panic” by posting the video without further researching the irregularities at the polling center.

Kosar, who says he grew up near the area, noted that the reported anomalies were at just one location out of 34 in a single city. He added that this occurred in one county out of 88, and that “the town isn’t a MAGA town” and “the county’s elections are overseen by a Republican,” explaining the unlikelihood a fellow GOP member would sabotage the party on an issue they and their party sought to win. The area in which the machines temporarily malfunctioned, he explained in a separate post, was in a Democratic stronghold, underscoring the idea that sabotaging the machines to hurt Republicans was implausible.

On the ballot was Issue 1, a provision that would raise the threshold for approving future changes to the state constitution through elections from a simple majority (50 percent + 1 vote) to 60 percent of voters backing a proposed change.

Ohio voters rejected the measure, handing a win to pro-abortion supporters ahead of a November vote seeking to protect abortion in the state’s constitution.

“Without this context,” Kosar continued, “it was almost predictable that Twitter influencers who have made their brand crying ‘election fraud’ would leap in. So it was.”

Holden’s original post has racked up more than 2.4 million views, along with numerous replies suggesting it was evidence of fraud. But, local officials say the issues were fixed almost immediately and were highly localized.

A representative for the Cuyahoga Board of Elections told Timcast News that several counties were using new equipment and that yesterday’s special election was the first time the machines had been used.

“There was a jam at the beginning,” the election official stated, “but we got the issue resolved. And as far as I know, there was no real issue with voting.”

He added that in nearby Summit County where Holden’s video was recorded, similar issues were experienced, but they were resolved in just a few hours.

A representative from the Summit County Board of Elections also confirmed to Timcast News the issues with machines were extremely limited, and that there were no persistent issues.

Jamie Ostroff, an investigative reporter with NBC 4, spoke with Summit County’s Board of Elections Director Lance Reed, who said that the issue with the ballot scanner was likely due to the thickness of the paper used to print the ballots. He added that a single machine was replaced and that everything was working fine.

He also confirmed that at no point were voters turned away or polls closed, adding that all votes would be counted.

Kosar blasted the widespread sharing of misleading information on social media, which led to nationwide angst over election integrity and falsely cast doubt on the security of Ohio’s election process.

“The job of a reporter is to report for the sake of helping the public understand what is going on. Failing to report all the facts led to a lot of misunderstanding and enflamed simmering suspicions amongst a portion of the public. Not good,” he said.

“I hope this reporter learned the right lesson, and I hope other reporters also will learn that the job they hold is a public trust,” he added. “Voters need journalists; but we depend on you to give us the full story.”

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