Ohio Secretary of State Restricts Ballot Drop Boxes, ACLU Vows to Fight

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Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State is catching heat from liberal groups, despite allowing the state to proceed with absentee voting via drop boxes.

“Even though Ohio law does not explicitly provide for the use of secure receptacles, commonly known as ‘drop boxes,’ for an absentee voter to return their ballot to the director, this Directive, once again, provides for the continued use of secure receptacles outside of the boards of elections,” Frank LaRose (R) said in a February 12 directive.

LaRose reissued a statewide order from 2020 that provides for one secure absentee ballot drop box in each Ohio county, extending it through the May 4 school board, municipal government, and recall elections. Those measures were put in place largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to allow for socially distant voting.

“The continued use of secure receptacles located only outside the boards of elections promotes uniformity among the 88 counties, which in turn ‘promotes the fair administration of elections’ and also ‘the security of the election,'” the directive continued.

A federal court even described the Ohio policy as “generous when it comes to absentee voting.”

But that is not enough for liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), whose Ohio branch has vowed to fight LaRose on the issue. The group thinks there should be more than one absentee ballot drop box per county, despite the fact that under normal circumstances, drop boxes are not used at all.

“We need to EXPAND – not limit – the number of drop boxes per county. One would think, in a world still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, giving voters expanded access to in-person, socially distant, absentee voting would be a no brainer,” the Ohio ACLU said on Twitter.

According to WKSU, the Ohio ACLU says it is going to push for more drop boxes, but would not say whether it would pursue litigation to that end.

One of the group’s policy strategists, Colin Marozzi, slammed the Republican state legislature for what he views as an anti-voter stance.

“But the Ohio General Assembly really has no interest and no appetite for election reform that is pro voter, that is increasing access that makes it easier for voters to make their voices heard,” he said. “And unfortunately, it’s exactly the opposite.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Mail in Ballots” by Cindy Shebley. CC BY 2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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