Meet Melowese Richardson; a woman who was sentenced to five years in prison for multiple voting. Richardson voted twice in the 2012 election, and three times for her sister, Montez Richardson, in 2008, 2011, and 2012. Montez has been in a coma since 2003.
Although Melowese Richardson has been a Hamilton County poll worker since 1998, she didn’t seem to understand the severity of her actions when she was charged with eight counts of illegal voting. “I think the board has shown me nothing but total disrespect for the 30 years I’ve served them,” she told Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman, who presided over her case. “I believe in the system and I’ve done nothing to harm the system or cause disgrace to President Obama.” Despite protesting her innocence, Richardson accepted a plea agreement in May that convicted her of four counts of illegal voting and dismissed the other four charges.
Judge Ruehlman was not impressed by her suggestion that she was being prosecuted for being a black Democrat who helped a black Democratic presidential candidate. “It has nothing to do with race. It has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with disrespecting you. You did this to yourself,” he told her. “You’re very selfish, self-centered. I really believe President Obama, if he were asked about this today, he would be appalled. He would not want anybody to cheat to get elected.” Cheating is exactly what Melowese Richardson did in the 2008, 2011, and 2012 elections. Worse than that, she abused her position as a poll worker and used her training and experience to keep from being detected by the authorities.
Given what we’re led to believe about the vote—that it’s invulnerable to fraud—it’s alarming that Richardson managed to vote multiple times in three elections before her deception was discovered. If a single person can thwart the system so easily, who’s to say that it isn’t being done by other people… Or on a larger scale? This is why organizations like Defend the Vote are so important. Without citizens looking out for the integrity of the vote, election security can easily get lost in the details.