Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include additional information from the chair of the Athens County Republic Party and unofficial results from the Alexander Wellness Center polling location.
Democratic State Rep. candidate Katie O’Neill alleged election fraud Tuesday after receiving reports that voters have seen neon orange signs hung in voting booths that say votes for O’Neill would not be counted.
O’Neill asked on her campaign’s Facebook page Tuesday night that anyone who had seen the signs while voting should contact her campaign. O’Neill called the incident election fraud and said she is currently in contact with her lawyer.
“I have contacted my lawyer, Louis Grube, due to election fraud. I need anyone and everyone that saw a sign saying not to vote for Katie O'Neill on or off election board properties or voting locations to contact me immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org,” O’Neill wrote on Facebook. “We are told neon orange signs that said votes for Katie O'Neill would not be counted were seen at voting booths today. Please contact me if you have seen it. We are gathering witnesses and evidence now.”
Of the 448 votes cast for the 94th district representative at the Alexander Wellness Center in Albany, Rep. Jay Edwards, R-Nelsonville, received 336 votes and O’Neill received 112 votes.
The 26th, 27th, 42th and 43th Athens County precincts vote at the Wellness Center.
A voter in Alexander who wishes to remain anonymous said in a Facebook message that she had seen one of the signs in her voting booth when she voted at the Alexander Wellness Center in Albany at about 1:45 p.m.
When the voter asked a poll worker when O’Neill had dropped out of the race, the worker said she hadn’t and that the sign was left over from the primary election, the voter said on Facebook. The voter also said the worker told them most of the signs were taken down at about 10:30 a.m., but workers must have missed their booth.
“(There are poll) workers sanitizing booths after every single voter so it would be difficult for one to claim no one saw it prior to 10am,” the voter said in a Facebook comment.
Athens County Republican Party Chair Pete Couladis said a poll worker he talked to said only one voting booth had the sign posted in it. Couladis said the worker also told him the sign was leftover in the booth from the primary election.
Debbie Quivey, director of the Athens County Board of Elections, said the Board had no comment on the situation.
Signs were previously hung in voting booths during the primary after the Athens County Board of Elections unanimously voted to protest O’Neill’s candidacy because she did not live in the Ohio 94th district for the required time period, according to a previous Post report.
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in April that O’Neill could run because she lived at multiple addresses a year before the election, including a friend’s residence in Athens County.
In its majority opinion, the Ohio Supreme Court said the Board of Elections “abused its discretion by rejecting O’Neill’s petition” to be added to the ballot as a state representative for the 94th district.
O’Neill was the sole Democratic candidate during the primary election following the decision.
Andrea Reik, a volunteer with the Athens County Democratic Party, said she has not yet been in contact with O’Neill about the situation, but she did see posts on Facebook.
“I’ve heard that rumor. That's about all I can say right now,” Reik said. “I don't know anything more.”
Edwards was not aware of the situation when contacted for comment.
Matthew Geiger and Noah Wright contributed to this report.