CLEVELAND — At the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections warehouse on Monday, elections officials were conducting an audit of the November election. It's not that there were any claims of voter fraud or even voting irregularities, this is just the routine double-check that happens with every election big and small.
“So from 2010 up to today we’ve audited 42 elections,” said Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Anthony Perlatti. “We do it because we want the public to have confidence in what we do but we also want to make sure that we’re doing it right.”
Sitting in on the process was the state's chief elections officer Secretary of State Frank LaRose. He said the greatest tool against disinformation is actual information. The more light you can shine on a process like this the better.
“As a result of some of the misinformation swirling around I’ve had people reach out to me on social media,” said LaRose “and say things like we should audit the election every four years and I always laugh about that, every four years? We do it about every four months.”
Ohio escaped the 2020 elections scrutiny that other states have come under in large part because of former President Donald Trump's eight-point win here. Still, LaRose likes to point out that in 2020 5.9 million votes were cast and his office found just 13 people who were identified as non-citizens who voted and referred to the Attorney General for possible prosecution. That’s .000002% of all votes cast.
“So it’s not impossible to commit voter fraud, it’s impossible to commit voter fraud without us knowing that you did it,” LaRose said. “And that’s the bottom line about why we have so many different safeguards and checks throughout the process.”
Still, LaRose knows this distrust in the election process isn’t going away soon but it has created an interest in the election process and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“In many cases, they’re interested for the wrong reasons, maybe they’ve watched too many Youtube videos with false information about elections or whatever else but this gives us as elections officials an opportunity to do some civics education to make sure that the public knows that processes like this occur,” he said.
And he also strongly encouraged those who may be skeptical to get involved, become a poll worker and see for themselves the multiple steps in place in every election to make sure it is carried out in a safe and secure way.