Two Republicans, including a candidate for local office and a County Republican Party official, were reportedly charged Tuesday with distributing phony sample ballots at the polls, sparking an investigation into possible election fraud in the area.
The men were identified as Republican candidate for Marion City Auditor, Robert Landon, and Marion County Republican Party official, John Matthews, ABC 6 News reports.
BREAKING NEWS: Two people have been charged with distributing phony sample ballots. One of those charged is Robert Landon, the Republican candidate for Marion City Auditor. The other charged is John Matthews, a Marion Co. Republican official. #vote2019 #ElectionDay2019
— Ben Garbarek (@BenWSYX6) November 5, 2019
“The campaign materials look just like a sample ballot a voter could get from the county board of elections but it has boxes highlighting where the Republican candidates are. Ohio law bans political parties or candidates from handing out sample ballots,” reports ABC 6 News. “Sample ballots are also supposed to be printed on colored paper to distinguish it from real ones. The one in question is on white paper, just like a real ballot.”
At the bottom of the document, it said, “paid by the Marion County Republican Party.”
Ohio law prohibits political parties from handing out sample ballots.
The law specifies that sample ballots must be printed on colored paper instead of white paper, which ABC News reports was not the case in Marion.
Under the law, an Ohio resident could face up to six months in jail and be forced to pay up to a $1,000 fine for distributing fake sample ballots.
In 2017, Matthews pleaded guilty to theft in office for doing political work while he was supposed to be doing claims support work for the Ohio Industrial Commission, according to The Columbus Dispatch. That was a fourth-degree felony.