Brunner Gives Voter Fraud a Thumbs Up in Morgan County 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, 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 had an opinion in this case. 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 Mike Tigner 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:
"Dear Attorney General Rogers,
"I submit to you an urgent request to conduct a serious legal
investigation, enforcing the *Ohio Revised Code 109.95, Criminal
proceedings for election fraud.* The Morgan County Ohio Board of
Elections has allowed its Prosecuting Attorney, Richard Welch, to run
for office, fill that office, and vote in the county of Morgan when all
the time he has lived in the county of Washington. Because of this,
there is a conflict of interest for investigation when both the
prosecutor and the Board of Elections have violated Ohio law, and the
prosecutor serves as legal counsel for the Board of Elections."
Wanting justice and not power moves, Tigner said, “This is not a government of the people for the people, it is the corruption of the government by the government.” He is very concerned about attorneys covering up for one another, and said, "They will take care of themselves." Tigner and others are also concerned with illegal actions by the board members.
Independent candidate for the office of the Ohio Attorney General Robert Owens in a discussion about other candidates that may also live outside of their district stated, "In this ruling Jennifer Brunner has once again shown her true colors as a stooge for the Democratic Party. On its face it may seem that she is trying to be 'fair and balanced' in reality she is protecting bigger fish."
Current candidate for the Ohio Senate, former 2006 candidate for Ohio Secretary of State, and 2004 Presidential Recount Organizer Tim Kettler stated, "If Secretary Brunner is refusing to enforce the laws, then Ohio elections are no more secure today then they were in 2004." Kettler is a witness to the rigging of the 2004 recount in his home county of Coshocton.
The Brunner Decision
For the foregoing reasons, I vote with Board Chair J. Wilson and Board Member Pennock AGAINST the motion to reaffirm the finding that Welch is not a qualified elector of Morgan County. Accordingly, the motion fails. Because Welch has already submitted a valid application for an absentee ballot as an armed serviced voter pursuant to R.C. 3511.02 and Advisory 2008-29 and because the time for him to return his absentee ballot is short, the Morgan County Board of Elections is hereby instructed to issue Welch an absentee ballot immediately in accordance with Advisory 2008-29.
In 2006 when people of the Democratic Party voted in Jennifer Brunner as Secretary of State, one thing they counted on was for her as the tie-breaker vote, and for the people to be represented at the Ohio Boards of Elections. It sadly appears that today, she voted against them. The pigeon droppings are not the only things stinking in Ohio this day.
Paddy Shaffer is Director, the Ohio Election Justice Campaign. She can be reached at