COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) - A post making the rounds on the internet claims a Columbus man found sealed ballot boxes filled with thousands of votes for the upcoming November election, and election officials are trying to figure it out. But the Franklin County Board of Elections says none of it is true.
The claims from a site called Christian Times Newspaper are going viral in some circles. They claim the ballots were all votes for Hillary Clinton and other Democratic candidates. They say Randall Prince, an electrical worker, found the boxes while inspecting a dilapidated warehouse, and include a photo claiming to be of the man with the boxes.
That photo actually first appeared in a November 2015 online article from the Birmingham Post in Birmingham, England. It is altered in the Christian Times Newspaper post. The Franklin County Board of Elections says it immediately began an investigation to find out where the claims in the article were coming from, and that's when they found the original article and photo.
In a statement, the Board of Elections said, "the only ballots that have been printed and mailed are for military and citizens living outside the United States." The board says it hasn't mailed a single ballot to anyone living in Franklin County, or to any Franklin County voters who may have requested a ballot be sent to another address in the U.S.
"Claims falsely challenging the integrity of the elections administration are taken seriously as public confidence in the electoral process is important. The Franklin County Board of Elections has numerous ballot and election security measures in place," the board said in the statement.
Some of the security procedures it outlined are:
- Each ballot storage vault is maintained under a double lock requiring a Democrat and Republican to simultaneously unlock.
- A double lock system is used to secure the Vote Center and must be unlocked by a Democrat and Republican simultaneously.
- Both parties are required to sign a chain of custody for all mailed ballots delivered to or picked up from USPS.
- Access to sensitive ballot storage areas are secured by keys that are maintained in storage containers requiring palm scan access.
- When the vote is counted, it's done in a public setting which can be observed by parties, any campaign, the media, and the public.
Additionally, ABC 6/FOX 28 has not been able to locate any records indicating the man named in the article lives in Columbus.