COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted's office has identified 82 non-U.S. citizens who have illegally voted in recent Ohio elections.
The cases have been referred to law enforcement for further investigation and possible prosecution. Letters will be sent to 303 registered voters identified as non-citizens who didn't cast ballots, asking them to cancel their voter registrations.
Since 2013, Husted's office has identified 821 non-citizens registered to vote in Ohio and 126 who have cast ballots. None of those ballots were case in jurisdictions where races were decided by one vote.
"In light of the national discussion about illegal voting it is important to inform our discussions with facts. The fact is voter fraud happens, it is rare and when it happens, we hold people accountable," Husted said in a statement.
In Cuyahoga County, 61 non-citizens were illegally registered to vote and 16 cast ballots, Husted's office found.
Husted's office has compared state voting data with Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles records every two years since 2013. The voters flagged in the review had identified themselves as non-citizens but also registered to vote.
The registered voters flagged in the three reviews combined account for .01 percent of the 7.8 million people on state voter rolls.
The actual number could be higher, Husted said, because the state cannot check the status of voters who registered using the last four digits of their social security number. Husted's office has asked the federal government to allow states to access information about non-citizens who have received social security numbers.
In 2015, Husted said in most cases, non-citizens mistakenly register to vote because they think it will either help their chances to become a U.S. citizen or is a requirement for citizenship.
Illegally registering to vote or casting a ballot is fifth-degree felony, which would prevent non-citizens from becoming U.S. citizens.
Of the 44 people flagged in previous reviews, eight have were convicted and two cases are pending, according to Husted's office. Seven people actually became naturalized citizens after registering and before casting their ballots.
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