Nov 7, 2018 – CINCINNATI — Linda Zgoda has been volunteering at Hamilton County polling places for more than 20 years. She said it’s important to her.
“I feel like to have honest elections, you have to have good officials,” Zgoda said. “I feel like it’s a civic responsibility for people to work at the polls.”
She pays close attention to details.
“It was initially when we had the signature poll book that I became aware that my neighbor was still on the rolls,” she said. “Then after it had been on for so long, I became curious about it.”
The curious thing, in this case, was the fact that her neighbor had been dead for 14 years.
“I’m concerned that by someone being on the rolls, someone could improperly vote in their name,” Zgoda said.
She contacted the Hamilton County Board of Elections and was told a family member needed to turn in her neighbor’s death certificate to have that person removed.
“Since this has been brought to our attention, we did more research, and we’ve been able to obtain some more identifying information, and that person has now been canceled,” Hamilton County Board of Elections director Sherry Poland said.
Poland said the state and county usually do a more thorough job of removing deceased voters from the rolls, but this time was different.
“We did receive a deceased Ohioans report at that time (in 2004), and (it) included his name but didn’t include his address,” Poland said. “The report did have a date of birth, but we didn’t have a date of birth on file.”
Poland said her office has about 790 Hamilton County voters who don’t have their date of birth or identification on file because those people registered at a time when they didn’t have to give that information.
When asked if there might be more deceased voters on the rolls that the state might have missed, Poland said that she thought it was highly unlikely because more identifying information is required from voters now.
She said that no one tried to vote under the name of Linda Zgoda’s deceased neighbor in the time that it had incorrectly been listed on the rolls.
The Hamilton County Board of Elections is working to get more identifying information from all voters in the county, she added.