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Poll manager in Ohio caught on video bringing blank ballots into bar, leaving them unattended
Composite screenshot of 19 News YouTube video (pictured: Mark Provenza)

Poll manager in Ohio caught on video bringing blank ballots into bar, leaving them unattended

A poll manager in Ohio has been "removed" from his position after he was caught on camera bringing dozens of blank provisional ballots into a bar and then leaving them unattended.

On March 18, the day before Ohio held its 2024 primary election, former area law director Mark Provenza and an unidentified male walked into the MAHD House Bar and Grille in Elyria, Ohio, about 30 miles west of Cleveland. The unidentified male was carrying several large, colorful bags that he then placed in a booth. After doing so, he shook Provenza's hand and walked back out of the establishment, leaving the bags in Provenza's care.

Provenza then ordered a beer and some lunch and waited for his rideshare vehicle. At one point during his visit to the bar, Provenza walked away from the table, leaving the bags unattended. After he returned, he placed the large bags inside garbage bags. He then walked out of the bar and climbed into a rideshare car, video footage from inside and outside the bar showed.

Under normal circumstances, Provenza's actions that day would be unremarkable. However, James Tucker, who owns MAHD House, claimed he became "nervous" when he noticed the label on the outside of one of Provenza's bags.

"After he ordered his dinner, he went over and started stuffing these bags, which we could see in them," Tucker said on a recent podcast. "They said 'ballot' on it, and I’m like, 'That don’t look right.'"

"It says right on the side of it that it’s ballots," Tucker continued. "We’re right across the street from the Lorain County Board of Elections. I’ve been here seven years — ain’t never seen nobody bring no ballot bags in."

Screenshot of 19 News YouTube video

Multiple officials later confirmed to WJW that the man on the video is Provenza, who managed the polling station at Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church on a voluntary basis. Director of Lorain County Board of Elections Paul Adams, a Democrat, claimed that Provenza has since lost his job.

"That person is no longer in that role and has been replaced and been removed from his position," Adams stated.

Adams also claimed that Provenza had been working as a polling volunteer "for a handful of years" and "certainly" should have known "better than to do something of this nature."

The county board of elections and the sheriff's office as well as the Ohio secretary of state opened investigations into the incident. According to reports, all 40 or so provisional ballots in Provenza's bags that day were later found unmolested. "The seals were intact," said Lorain County Sheriff’s Capt. Robert Vansant. "Nothing was tampered with. Nothing was missing."

"A team of Democrats and Republicans can look at those seals, make sure that none of them were open, and confirm that all the seal numbers are the proper seal numbers," BOE Director Adams added.

Vansant said that investigators have not yet seen evidence of any criminal activity, but the case has still been handed over to local prosecutors as a precaution. "We always want all cases to be reviewed by a prosecutor just to get a second set of eyes on it," he said. "More of a checks and balances to have them look at it."

According to reports, Provenza acknowledged that he left the ballots briefly unattended but claimed they always remained in his line of vision. He also explained that he put the bags into garbage bags to protect the ballots from the weather. He did not respond to WJW's request for comment.

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