In the weeks leading up to the 2012 general election, and since, there have been accusations of
voter suppression and/or voter fraud. It is not in the best interest of the public or efforts to
improve the administration of elections to have unsubstantiated allegations linger without giving
an appropriate venue to provide legally-sustainable documentation that may result in a proper
legal remedy. Furthermore, boards of elections have a statutory duty to “investigate
irregularities, nonperformance of duties, or violations of Title XXXV of the Revised Code …
and report the facts to the prosecuting attorney or the secretary of state.”
1 In carrying out this public duty, boards of elections must comply with the directives, advisories, and memoranda issued by the Ohio Secretary of State and with the laws of Ohio and of the United States. This Directive replaces Directive 2010-102, which is rescinded.
Whenever a complaint supported by factual evidence alleging circumstances of voter fraud
and/or suppression is filed in a particular county, that county’s board of elections must hold a
public hearing at which qualified electors of the State of Ohio may provide sworn testimony or
affidavits in support of the alleged act(s) of voter suppression and/or voter fraud. Any testimony
provided to the board of elections must be given under oath with a transcript made by a certified
court reporter. All sworn statements, whether in writing or in person before the Board, must be
limited to first-hand knowledge of the allegation, as hearsay testimony is inadmissible.
At the conclusion of any meeting to investigate allegations of voter suppression, voter fraud,
and/or election falsification, the Board must vote whether or not to forward each allegation to the
county’s prosecuting attorney for review and possible legal action, or resolve to further
investigate the allegation at the board-level. Any action referred to the county’s prosecuting
attorney must also be forwarded to the Secretary of State’s elections counsel assigned to your
1 – R.C. 3501.11(J)Directive 2013-01 Allegations of Voter Suppression or Voter Fraud
Boards of elections must continue to demonstrate our shared commitment to fully and fairly
investigate specific allegations or evidence of election law violations. The Secretary of State’s
Office, through its regional liaisons and elections attorneys, will continue to support Boards in
their efforts to protect voter’s rights and prevent election fraud.
If you have any questions regarding this Directive, please contact the Secretary of State’s
elections counsel assigned to your county at (614) 466-2585.