Poll manager caught bringing ballots into bar is Democrat former city official with history of alcohol-related convictions

Apr 3, 2024 | U.S. | 0 comments

A former polling manager who was recently caught on camera hauling dozens of blank ballots into an Ohio bar and leaving them unattended is a Democrat former city official with a long history of DUIs and other alcohol-related convictions.

On Tuesday,
Blaze News reported that on March 18, the day before the Ohio 2024 primary election, Mark Provenza was caught bringing in at least 40 unmarked provisional ballots into the MAHD House Bar and Grille in Elyria, Ohio, about 30 miles from Cleveland. During his visit to the bar, Provenza walked away from his booth, leaving the ballots unattended, security video showed. When word of his actions spread, Provenza was fired from his voluntary position as the manager of the polling station at Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church in Lorain, Ohio.

It turns out, however, that Provenza was also once a Democrat public official with a powerful position in the City of Lorain. From 2000 until 2009, Provenza worked as the law director of the City of Lorain. According to the city’s
website, the Lorain law director:

serves as legal counsel for all “for all elected officials, directors and council-persons” in Lorain;
prepares “all contracts, bonds, ordinances and written instruments” in which Lorain is involved;
prosecutes or defends the city in “all complaints, suits, and controversies” affiliated with it;
reviews all ordinances under consideration by the city council; and
serves as the prosecuting attorney for Lorain Municipal Court and likewise prosecutes cases for the City of Lorain and Sheffield Township.

Though he was prosecuting cases on behalf of the city, Provenza had already found himself on the wrong side of the law by the time he entered office. Court records from nearby Lakewood, Ohio, indicate that in August 2000, Provenza was arrested for driving under the influence and driving on a suspended or restricted license.

In August 2008, Provenza was arrested for driving under the influence once again after he smashed his vehicle into a Lakewood home, causing damage to property.
Reports at the time indicated it was his fourth DUI arrest.

For that incident, Provenza was sentenced to serve 12 months in jail but was given conditional release in March 2009 after serving 90 days. One of the conditions of his release was that he abstain from alcohol for five years while he remained on probation. However, he admitted that he had violated that condition almost immediately and was subsequently carted back to jail just one day after his release, prompting local leaders and
outlets to begin calling for his resignation as city law director.

In fact, then-Assistant Law Director R.J. Budway and then-Lorain Democratic Party Chairman Anthony Giardini drove to the jail with a resignation letter and pen practically in hand. They then met with Provenza, who signed the resignation letter from his jail cell,
Cleveland.com reported at the time.

Sadly, Provenza’s troubles with alcohol did not end there. He has since been convicted of at least two other alcohol-related infractions. In August 2016, he was arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence and later pled guilty, and in September 2021, he was arrested for disorderly conduct related to intoxication and pled no contest.

During his visit to the MAHD House bar last month, while he had dozens of ballots in tow, Provenza ordered and consumed at least one
alcoholic beverage. He left the premises in a rideshare vehicle.

Provenza did not respond to Blaze News’ requests for comment, but Blaze News did speak with Lorain County Board of Elections Director Paul Adams, who called Provenza’s actions with the ballots “a failure” that should not have happened.

However, he wanted to reassure the public that the county has strict, bipartisan rules in place to keep elections honest. He noted that all ballots are affixed with “official seals with numbers that can be verified by teams of Democrats and Republicans.” Any ballots and supplies with a doubtful seal or chain of custody are “not used,” he said.

He also claimed that each polling station has a Republican and Democrat manager. So whatever Provenza may or may not have been doing as poll manager, he would have had at least one Republican monitoring him and the station in general.

Adams claimed he knew of no other accusations of election-related improprieties against Provenza. He also stated that, like all county election volunteers, Provenza would have had to undergo training and testing prior to the most recent election.

When asked how Provenza came to be in charge of a county polling station despite his well-documented struggles with alcohol and his public fall from grace, Adams, a Democrat, claimed that he was unaware of Provenza’s most recent arrests. Adams claimed he knew only about the 2008 incident and that Provenza had once worked as a city law director. He said he had not seen Provenza involved in any local “political” activities, Democrat or otherwise, since about the time of his resignation.

Adams added that while felons are barred from becoming Ohio poll workers, few polling workers undergo extensive background checks because the system is in such desperate need of volunteers. “There’s been a lot of individuals that have quite frankly been scared to step up and serve as poll workers, particularly right now in the environment that we’re in,” Adams explained to Blaze News.

“This last election we had, I would say probably a good 15% of our poll workers called off and canceled within the last week before the election for one reason or another.”

Adams claimed that the emotionally charged “atmosphere” from both parties these days keeps people from getting involved. However, he wants to encourage people to overcome that initial hesitation and become a volunteer.

“Because we need them,” he said.

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A former polling manager who was recently caught on camera hauling dozens of blank ballots into an Ohio bar and leaving them unattended is a Democrat former city official with a long history of DUIs and other alcohol-related convictions.

On Tuesday,
Blaze News reported that on March 18, the day before the Ohio 2024 primary election, Mark Provenza was caught bringing in at least 40 unmarked provisional ballots into the MAHD House Bar and Grille in Elyria, Ohio, about 30 miles from Cleveland. During his visit to the bar, Provenza walked away from his booth, leaving the ballots unattended, security video showed. When word of his actions spread, Provenza was fired from his voluntary position as the manager of the polling station at Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church in Lorain, Ohio.

It turns out, however, that Provenza was also once a Democrat public official with a powerful position in the City of Lorain. From 2000 until 2009, Provenza worked as the law director of the City of Lorain. According to the city’s
website, the Lorain law director:

serves as legal counsel for all “for all elected officials, directors and council-persons” in Lorain;
prepares “all contracts, bonds, ordinances and written instruments” in which Lorain is involved;
prosecutes or defends the city in “all complaints, suits, and controversies” affiliated with it;
reviews all ordinances under consideration by the city council; and
serves as the prosecuting attorney for Lorain Municipal Court and likewise prosecutes cases for the City of Lorain and Sheffield Township.

Though he was prosecuting cases on behalf of the city, Provenza had already found himself on the wrong side of the law by the time he entered office. Court records from nearby Lakewood, Ohio, indicate that in August 2000, Provenza was arrested for driving under the influence and driving on a suspended or restricted license.

In August 2008, Provenza was arrested for driving under the influence once again after he smashed his vehicle into a Lakewood home, causing damage to property.
Reports at the time indicated it was his fourth DUI arrest.

For that incident, Provenza was sentenced to serve 12 months in jail but was given conditional release in March 2009 after serving 90 days. One of the conditions of his release was that he abstain from alcohol for five years while he remained on probation. However, he admitted that he had violated that condition almost immediately and was subsequently carted back to jail just one day after his release, prompting local leaders and
outlets to begin calling for his resignation as city law director.

In fact, then-Assistant Law Director R.J. Budway and then-Lorain Democratic Party Chairman Anthony Giardini drove to the jail with a resignation letter and pen practically in hand. They then met with Provenza, who signed the resignation letter from his jail cell,
Cleveland.com reported at the time.

Sadly, Provenza’s troubles with alcohol did not end there. He has since been convicted of at least two other alcohol-related infractions. In August 2016, he was arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence and later pled guilty, and in September 2021, he was arrested for disorderly conduct related to intoxication and pled no contest.

During his visit to the MAHD House bar last month, while he had dozens of ballots in tow, Provenza ordered and consumed at least one
alcoholic beverage. He left the premises in a rideshare vehicle.

Provenza did not respond to Blaze News’ requests for comment, but Blaze News did speak with Lorain County Board of Elections Director Paul Adams, who called Provenza’s actions with the ballots “a failure” that should not have happened.

However, he wanted to reassure the public that the county has strict, bipartisan rules in place to keep elections honest. He noted that all ballots are affixed with “official seals with numbers that can be verified by teams of Democrats and Republicans.” Any ballots and supplies with a doubtful seal or chain of custody are “not used,” he said.

He also claimed that each polling station has a Republican and Democrat manager. So whatever Provenza may or may not have been doing as poll manager, he would have had at least one Republican monitoring him and the station in general.

Adams claimed he knew of no other accusations of election-related improprieties against Provenza. He also stated that, like all county election volunteers, Provenza would have had to undergo training and testing prior to the most recent election.

When asked how Provenza came to be in charge of a county polling station despite his well-documented struggles with alcohol and his public fall from grace, Adams, a Democrat, claimed that he was unaware of Provenza’s most recent arrests. Adams claimed he knew only about the 2008 incident and that Provenza had once worked as a city law director. He said he had not seen Provenza involved in any local “political” activities, Democrat or otherwise, since about the time of his resignation.

Adams added that while felons are barred from becoming Ohio poll workers, few polling workers undergo extensive background checks because the system is in such desperate need of volunteers. “There’s been a lot of individuals that have quite frankly been scared to step up and serve as poll workers, particularly right now in the environment that we’re in,” Adams explained to Blaze News.

“This last election we had, I would say probably a good 15% of our poll workers called off and canceled within the last week before the election for one reason or another.”

Adams claimed that the emotionally charged “atmosphere” from both parties these days keeps people from getting involved. However, he wants to encourage people to overcome that initial hesitation and become a volunteer.

“Because we need them,” he said.

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