East Liverpool woman sentenced for voter fraud in Columbiana County

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Rebecca Hammonds_315152

LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – An East Liverpool woman who worked to register voters through the Ohio Organizing Collaborative was sentenced to 180 days in jail for voter fraud.

Rebecca Hammonds registered voters in Columbiana County between September and October of 2015 when the crimes occurred. The local Board of Elections first discovered the false records after finding that several newly-registered voters were deceased, Attorney General Mike DeWine said.

Hammonds pleaded guilty in January to 13 counts of making a false registration and one count of election falsification – all fifth-degree felonies. In court Monday, she said she felt pressured to get a large number of voters registered.

“I felt like I needed to keep the numbers up because it was stated that if there weren’t very many numbers then they would pull the funding, which would mean not only my job but eight other peoples’ jobs,” Hammonds said.

The Ohio Organizing Collaborative refutes that claim, however. The organization said canvassers are asked to get between 10 to 15 people registered per day, and even if they failed to so, it would take multiple times of not meeting that quota to have grounds for termination.

“It was an hourly pay wage job, and this defendant felt it was easier to sign up people falsely,” said Special Prosecutor Brian Deckert.

Deckert, who works for Dewine’s office, said Hammond not only submitted voter registrations for people who had died, but she also registered those who had moved away and were already registered.

Adam Booth, director of the Columbiana County Board of Elections, said the board first discovered the discrepancies. He said checks are in place to keep this type of voter fraud from happening.

“The handwriting wasn’t the same. The signature wasn’t the same. Maybe the birth date was off by a year or so. Things were flagging off as irregular than what we had in our system,” he said.

The Board of Elections also used the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to cross-check voter registration.

“The names matched up to the birthdays, which matched up, for the most part, to the driver’s license and then she was just forging their signatures. It’s not something anybody off the street couldn’t just try to do,” he said.

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