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Election Denial in Ohio

  • 0 Election Deniers currently hold statewide office with election oversight power.

  • 5 Election Deniers have held, or run for, statewide office since 2020.

The landscape in Ohio

Ohio is home to one of the most vocal Election Deniers in Congress.

In its final report, the House January 6 Select Committee cited Rep. Jim Jordan as “a significant player” in Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. Jordan led a conference call on which President Trump and members of Congress talked about ways to delay the joint session to count electoral votes, the committee said. And he spoke with Trump at least twice on the day of the attack, “though he has provided inconsistent public statements about how many times they spoke and what they discussed.” Jordan refused to cooperate with the committee’s investigation.

Even after the attack, Jordan was among five of Ohio’s members of Congress who voted to overturn 2020 election results. Five days after the attack, Trump gave Jordan the Medal of Freedom.

Ohio is among the states that have ordered up investigations or created entire investigative divisions to hunt for violations of election law. States are taking these steps even though voter fraud is practically nonexistent, and widespread voter fraud is strictly a conspiracy theory—a myth. 

Secretary of State Frank LaRose in 2022 announced a division focused on “election integrity.” He acknowledged that voter fraud is “exceedingly rare in Ohio,” but he cited a national “crisis of confidence in the electoral process.” What he didn’t say, of course, is that an entire political movement is devoted to undermining confidence by lying about elections.

Ohio has also hampered election offices by banning donations to support election funding—at a time when Ohio election officials are under stress because of misinformation. Ohio has also withdrawn from ERIC, a partnership that makes voter rolls more secure.

0 Election Deniers hold statewide Office right now.

Elections are run by the states. In Ohio, the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State are the state officials responsible for overseeing elections. It’s up to them to make sure the will of the people is always respected.

Read more about The Roles of Our Elected Officials in Elections

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Election Deniers

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How Ohio compares

Every state runs its own elections, with its own laws and processes. Check out how Ohio compares with other states in its region when it comes to Election Deniers holding state election administration jobs.

Election Denial in Great Lakes States

Sitting official is an Election Denier

  1. In Illinois, the Executive Director is appointed by the Illinois State Board of Elections.
  2. In Wisconsin, the Administrator is appointed by the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

Voter turnout over time

Voters are always the backstop against election denial, whether Election Deniers are already in office or vying for power. It’s important to turn out for every election in your state—and to vote in every race on your ballot. Downballot races, like contests for Attorney General and Secretary of State, have historically drawn fewer voters, even though the positions are critical to keeping elections free, fair, and secure. Here’s a look at voter participation in Ohio elections over time. Notice that in years with several important positions up for election, some voters choose not to vote in every race.

Voter Participation in Ohio Since 2016

Attorney General
Secretary of State
  1. 2016 Presidential

    • President had a 63% voter turnout rate

    • Senator had a 62% voter turnout rate

  2. 2018 Midterm

    • Senator had a 50% voter turnout rate

    • Governor had a 50% voter turnout rate

    • Attorney General had a 50% voter turnout rate

    • Secretary of State had a 50% voter turnout rate

  3. 2020 Presidential

    • President had a 67% voter turnout rate

Voter turnout

Data on the number of votes cast in each race are from state elections depositories, supplemented with data from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), House Election Statistics, and The Book of States. Rates are calculated using the Census’s Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) estimates. Rates will be updated when the Census releases new CVAP data for 2022.

Beyond the ballot box

Each year, state legislators introduce thousands of bills related to elections. And in the past few years, we’ve identified a concerning trend. Across the country, state legislatures are considering bills that would make it easier for partisan actors to manipulate an election, and maybe even overturn the will of the people. We’re tracking these bills along with our partners in an ongoing series of reports called “A Democracy Crisis in the Making.” In 2023 alone, through early May, we tracked 185 bills introduced in 38 state legislatures that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with elections. 

The anti-democracy playbook is simple: change the rules and change the referees, in order to change the results. These bills go hand-in-hand with the Election Denier movement: They’re about taking power away from voters and making it harder for trusted election officials to do their jobs.

Read the full report

Legislative Interference in Ohio by Category

As of May 3, 2023, 1 bill had been introduced or was under consideration in Ohio. None have been enacted or adopted and none have been vetoed after passing.

This bill shows that the threat to elections in Ohio, and all across the country, goes well beyond the ballot box.

  • Imposing disproportionate criminal or other penalties.
    These bills would create or expand penalties for election officials in the ordinary execution of their jobs, including criminalizing inadvertent mistakes.
  • Usurping control over election results.
    These bills would give legislators or other state officials direct control over election outcomes.
  • Requiring partisan or unprofessional election “audits” or reviews.
    These bills would establish vague post-election review schemes without the professional standards of traditional audits.
  • Seizing power over election responsibilities.
    These bills would shift election administration responsibilities away from professional, nonpartisan officials and toward partisan actors in the legislature.
  • Creating unworkable burdens in election administration.
    These bills would interfere with the basic procedures of election administration, increasing the risk of chaos and delay and enabling misleading claims of irregularity.