Dennis Kucinich speaks with News 5 after finding the Board of Elections office unlocked

Posted at 9:29 AM, Sep 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-03 15:16:31-04

The integrity of the upcoming Primary Election here in Cleveland has been called into question.

Saturday afternoon, a former Congressman uncovered a lapse in security at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections office.

It comes just months after President Trump criticized the nation's voting process.

"Big election in Cleveland, and I wanted to get my vote in," said Dennis Kucinich.

Thinking the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections was open for early voting, the former Congressman made his way to the building at East 30th and Euclid.

"It's a very serious place and it's serious business that goes on there. I opened the door, I walked in and the alarm went off," said Kucinich.

Walking around with the alarm blaring, Kucinich was shocked he could not find any staff.

"Went to the second floor there was nobody there, thought maybe they were voting on the third floor, no one there. Then it occurred to me this building is empty," said Kucinich.

Kucinich quickly called Cleveland Police to have them check the building.

“All over the country, people are worried about the integrity of the election process. They want to make sure their vote counts. They want to make sure the ballot is secure," said Kucinich.

The Cleveland politician is now calling for the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to launch an immediate investigation and re-evaluate the security plan they have in place.

“Wow. We've got to make sure this doesn't ever happen again, and that people can be guaranteed that the elections are always going to be protected," said Kucinich.

A spokesperson for Cuyahoga County told News 5 nothing was stolen or tampered with inside the Board of Elections and that the ballots there are completely secured and safe.

In a statement on Sunday, the Board of Elections confirmed "with certainty" that none of the ballots were tampered with. The board also said, "it is the responsibility of Cuyahoga County Protective Services to lock and unlock the building and to set and maintain all security alarms, and we are working with them on an ongoing investigation into how entry was permitted when the building should have been closed and secured."

"I was able in some small way to stand guard for a few moments on behalf of the people and I love doing that," said Kucinich.

The Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department is investigating why the doors were left unlocked.

"I think the board of elections will learn a lesson from this," said Kucinich.