in Morgan County by Brunner
For Immediate Release:
By Paddy Shaffer
Director, The Ohio Election Justice Campaign
October 28, 2008
In one of the “rare documented cases of voter fraud,” committed by Richard Welch the Republican Morgan County Prosecutor, Ohio Secretary of State (SOS) Jennifer Brunner voted against the members of her own party, board members Mary Anna Wallace and Azcal Wilson, and for the Republican. The issue here is whether the attorney who is the Morgan County Prosecutor, who has lived outside of Morgan County for the past six years, can continue to vote in that county. Welch has lived south of Morgan County, down along the Ohio River in the town of Belpre. Welch is in the military, and has had not personally been physically in the prosecutors office much in the last six year. He has maintained the prosecutor title, and continued to have himself and his wife vote in Morgan County, he has continued to run for office, and hold office. All while actually having his wife and himself live in Washington County.
Welch did claim to spend one night, on September 1, 2008 in the house. He also at his September 2, 2008 hearing claimed that he was unable to live in the house because of the large amount of pigeon poop all over it. His attorney assisted Welch providing pictures of the numerous white poop spots, and they had a vivid description. Brunner wrote that Welch’s wife is splitting her time between the two homes, but the locals disagree.
The McConnellesville home in Morgan County has not even had running water in the past six years, and is zoned as an office, not a residence. Both Democratic Board Members of the Morgan County Board of Elections ruled in January 2008, and then again on September 29, 2008 that Welch is not a resident of their community.
Legal counsel for the Secretary of State in Morgan County is Brian Shinn. In her ruling issued today, http://electiondefensealliance.org/files/Welch_Morgan_County_102808.pdf
Brunner (or her staff) wrote “Because Welch's total period of absence from Morgan County excluding his active duty military service amounts to a temporary absence, because he testified he has maintained an intent to return to Morgan County, and because he has taken numerous actions that support his intent to return to Morgan County, I conclude that Mr. Welch is a qualified elector of Morgan County”.
Another former military man, and a member of Ohio law enforcement for the past 28 years has an opinion in this case also. That is Mike Tigner who filed the complaint against Welch. Tigner complained, “I can’t believe they can’t go by the plain meaning of the law, they keep covering up for people. If it was any other voter that lived outside the county, we wouldn’t be asking for the SOS opinion.”
He was very disappointed by Secretary Brunner’s ruling and how she only supported Welch, and never responded to the strong points he made. Tigner stated, “Welch was living in Washington County for the 30 days prior to leaving for service, that makes it his place of residence, according to the Uniformed Statute for Voter Registration. When leaving for service, residency is based on where a person lived, not where they might someday live.” Tigner wants to know, “What are they covering up? How many other elected officials are there who live outside of their counties or districts, for which Brunner wants to protect?” There is another item of interest in this case, Brunner wrote:
"The board of elections voted 3-1 to cancel Welch's voter registration at the end of the January 23, 2008 hearing.” It was canceled, then later reinstated, leading to the current ongoing issues.
On September 12, 2008 MikeTigner asked for an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General and CC’d the Ohio Secretary of State on his written request. There has been no response to this letter. The letter is below in part: