Prosecutor finds no criminal offense in ballot photo

By Melanie Yingst - Miami Valley Today

MIAMI COUNTY — On Wednesday, Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell issued a press release which addressed alleged misconduct by a family member of a candidate for office in the upcoming election.

The Board of Elections was notified, by anonymous complain, that a photograph was taken by an individual related to a candidate for office of their own ballot during early voting at the office. The complaint alleged potential criminal conduct by the person taking the picture at the office. The Board of Elections referred the matter to the Prosecutor’s s Office.

According to Kendell’s statement, “Upon thorough review of the matter, the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office has determined no criminal conduct occurred.”

Kendell cited Ohio Revised Code 3599.20 which “prohibits an elector from allowing another to view their ballot with the apparent intention of letting it be known how the elector is about to vote.”

Kendell stated the Ohio Supreme Court has held that the intent of the law is not in impose ballot secrecy but is to serve the broader purpose of protecting electors from any treatment of the ballot inconsistent with the right to vote.

“Other states and federal courts have addressed similar photographs and determined a prohibition of such photographs to be in violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The photograph in no way impacted an elector’s right to vote.”

Kendell said the matter is closed and no criminal charges will be filed.

By Melanie Yingst

Miami Valley Today