Vote fraud deserves harsh penalties

Outright voter fraud is very rare in Ohio. But it does happen, and we sometimes wonder whether Buckeye State residents understand the real danger in the practice.

A Cincinnati-area woman who had been a poll worker was sentenced to five years in prison last week, for voting illegally on behalf of as many as eight other people.

She was far from contrite, telling the court, “I’ll fight for (President Barack Obama) and Mr. Obama’s right to sit as president of the United States.”

But what other votes did she cast illegally? Did she vote multiple times for or against a local tax levy?

Presidential elections are not decided by margins that can be affected by fraudulent voting. But local elections and referendums sometimes are close enough to be swayed.

That is the big danger of vote fraud – and it is why people such as the Cincinnati-area woman should be punished severely.