AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Questions about a fraudulent mail-in ballot submitted on behalf of a deceased Summit County woman revealed hundreds more deceased voters names were still listed as active voters last year.
Among those who voted in the November general election last year was Carol Liederbach of Northfield.
A ballot was requested in her name in September and mailed to her home. The completed and signed ballot was returned to the Board of Elections and processed on Oct. 16, when records show the vote was counted.
It was brought to the attention of the Board of Elections because Liederbach passed away months earlier.
The ballot was mailed to the home Liederbach shared with her husband Denis, who also voted by mail according to Board of Elections records.
Her husband, son and daughter each offered statements during Board of Elections hearings explaining to the board that Liederbach’s husband gets his own mail, pays his own bills and has very few visitors at the home particularly through the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a Jan. 19 hearing in which Liederbach’s daughter was questioned, board members were attempting to analyze the handwriting on the applications and the ballot.
“I do not get the mail. My dad is very adamant about getting his own mail paying his own bills taking care of his own things. I never go in his office because he is always in there and I don’t have any reason to be in there anyway,” Liederbach’s daughter told the board.
Board members agreed employees should have caught the problem but failed to do so.
Among the problems, it was determined, was that while Liederbach was a resident of Summit County and a registered voter there, she died in Cuyahoga County.
A review of elections records after the fact revealed that there were hundreds more people who had passed away but were still listed as registered voters through 2020.
During the Feb. 2 meeting, the board was told that as many as 650 people whose names should have been removed following their death were still there. An examination of all of the names revealed that Liederbach was the only one in whose name a ballot was cast.
The Board of Elections believes there were additional failures that could have stopped the fraudulent ballot from being counted.
Among them was that the ballot had the wrong birthdate on it. The documents also included a driver’s license number that was not on record with the Board of Elections.
A simple check of the number would have resulted in Board of Elections employees being unable to reach her and the vote would not have been counted.
Board members have been told that additional bipartisan steps will be taken to make sure that the names of those who have died are removed from the voters’ lists, and additional training is being done to make sure clerks in the agency do not miss the names of those whose deaths occurred in another county.
In the meantime, Liederbach’s fraudulent vote was counted.
“Nobody has yet confessed to on the record for forging these signatures and submitting these forms, however, at the last meeting I pointed out that … the absentee ID envelope that was approved for Ms. Liederbach should have not been approved. Our system failed to catch it,” said Election Board Chairman Bill Rich during the Jan. 19 meeting.
Election Board Director Lance Reed did not respond to FOX 8’s efforts to reach him on Tuesday.
Liederbach’s son also did not respond to a request for an interview.