LaRose says Iowa caucus mishap would not happen in Ohio

By: - February 4, 2020 9:42 am

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. Official photo.

Ohio’s top elections official has condemned those spreading “fear and anxiety” about the Iowa caucus results, adding that the state has a system in place that would prevent Monday evening’s mishaps from happening here.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose made the comments in a short video posted to Twitter on Tuesday morning. He highlighted the differences between Monday’s Iowa caucus process and the upcoming Ohio primary on March 16. 

The caucus system is far different than traditional, private voting methods. It involves lengthy meetings in group settings where each candidate’s supporters work to gather the most voters in each precinct. Issues with a phone app designed to allow precinct officials to report results has led to no Democratic presidential caucus winner being announced as of 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

“The way that we do our reporting on election night would never rely on something like a smartphone app,” LaRose said. “That’s not the way we do it in Ohio.”

He noted that Ohio elections are largely guided by the 88 counties’ boards of elections, each led by one Republican and one Democrat. There are direct lines of contact between these boards and the Ohio Secretary of State office, LaRose said, with results being reported throughout the evening. 

It is unclear at this point what exact issues led to the Iowa results not being made public on Monday evening. Some have called into question the integrity of the process and have spread conspiracy theories. 

“For people to go on social media and spread fear and anxiety for partisan purposes or political purposes is deeply irresponsible and none of us should tolerate that,” LaRose said.

One person who has done so is President Donald Trump’s own campaign manager, Brad Parscale. Responding to a report that Iowa officials were conducting “quality control,” Parscale tweeted: “Quality control = rigged?”

Trump’s own daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, also made unfounded accusations of voter fraud during a visit to Ohio last month. 

“Sometimes when people get desperate, sometimes they try and cheat,” she told supporters in Columbus. “I’m just throwing it out there. So we have to be on guard.

“We gotta watch the polls, make sure no funny business is happening when people are voting,” she continued, “cause you know they’re trying to register dead people still and do all that crazy stuff. They’re desperate, they’re doing anything they can.”

A spokesperson for LaRose’s office did not respond to multiple inquiries from the Capital Journal asking for evidence of the type of voter fraud outlined by Lara Trump.

LaRose, as the main overseer of Ohio’s elections, is the only Republican statewide office holder to not be serving as an honorary state chair for the Trump campaign. LaRose was among the officials who greeted Trump at a Toledo airport on Jan. 9 when the president arrived for a campaign rally. 

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Tyler Buchanan
Tyler Buchanan

Tyler Buchanan is an award-winning journalist who has covered Ohio politics and government for the past decade. A Bellevue native and graduate of Bowling Green State University, he most recently spent 6 1/2 years as a reporter and editor of The Athens Messenger and Vinton-Jackson Courier newspapers. He is a member of the BG News Alumni Society Board and was a 2019 fellow in the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism.