Ohio Congressional Democrats Blast Secretary of State LaRose’s Attempted Sleight of Hand, Continued Refusal to Make Voting Easier for Ohioans
WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03), along with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (OH), U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), U.S. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (OH-11), and U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13), penned a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose blasting him for deceptively directing alternative ballot drop boxes to be placed alongside existing units. LaRose’s directive serves as little more than political cover for his ongoing, unilateral campaign to hinder Ohioans’ ability to vote. The congressional quintet also urged LaRose to live up to his word and permit multiple drop boxes to be located throughout each county, in the wake of three court rulings affirming his authority to do so.
“Allowing a second drop box to be located right next to the one currently in place at county Boards of Elections is a naked attempt to provide yourself with political cover, in response to the growing calls you face from around the state to permit multiple drop boxes throughout each county. While you may have achieved the talking point that you ‘allowed multiple drop boxes per county,’ your policy does nothing to make it easier for Ohioans to cast their ballot,” the Ohio lawmakers wrote in their letter.
“Now that three courts, state and federal, have agreed that the plain meaning of the law allows for the installation of multiple drop boxes, we are writing to let you know of these court findings. Therefore, we urge you to be true to your word and immediately allow multiple secure ballot boxes to be dispersed throughout each county,” the lawmakers continued.
Their latest congressional correspondence was a follow up to a letter to LaRose, from September 18th, calling on him to comply with a Franklin County Court of Common Pleas’ ruling directing him to allow multiple secure ballot drop boxes. Before that, the lawmakers drafted another letter to LaRose urging him to work with the skilled and dedicated tradespeople of Ohio to locate additional drop boxes across all 88 counties. The men and women of Ohio State Sheet Metal Workers Locals #24 and #33, as well as the Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council, have said they stand ready to build additional secure ballot boxes, at no cost to the state.
Beatty, Brown, Kaptur, Fudge, and Ryan also wrote a letter to LaRose in September asking him to use his existing authority to prepay postage for absentee ballots and ballot applications for the upcoming 2020 General Election in Ohio.
In August, in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis and the Trump Administration’s attempts to undercut the United States Postal Service (USPS), LaRose inexplicably banned county boards of elections from providing more than one ballot drop box for completed absentee ballots. He acted to ban additional secure drop boxes at the same time that absentee ballot applications were “pouring into Ohio’s boards of elections at an unprecedented rate.” In response, Beatty, Brown, Kaptur, Fudge, and Ryan urged him to reconsider his decision, explaining his clear authority to permit multiple drop boxes in each county. This authority was affirmed by the Franklin County Court’s recent ruling.