COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH) — With a historic election less than 12 weeks away, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose gave Ohioans an update Wednesday on his office’s preparations.
“There will be in-person voting available on Tuesday, November 3,” said Secretary LaRose.
Postponing the election will not be an option this November, according to LaRose who said board of elections across Ohio are preparing for the coronavirus to still be around.
On Wednesday, LaRose released a 48-point guidance of requirements and recommendations for county boards of elections to have a safe election. Some of these guidelines include mask requirements for poll workers, cleaning voting booths and making curbside voting available.
“The polling locations will be a safe and secure environment, a healthy environment for every voter regardless of whether there’s a spike in the virus or not,” said LaRose.
A record number of Ohioans are expected to vote absentee by mail this year due to the virus, which is how Secretary LaRose said he will be voting.
Around Labor Day, registered voters can expect to receive an absentee ballot request form in the mail, and LaRose urges voters to fill them out quickly to begin the process.
“Procrastination is always a bad idea, ask any college student, but procrastination is even a worse idea when we’re running an election in the midst of a pandemic,” said LaRose.
Due to the influx of absentee applications and ballots, many are calling for more ballot drop-boxes to be placed around counties. On Wednesday, LaRose announced that he would not permit local election officials to do that.
“With just under three months to go until election day, I don’t think it’s the time to change the way we’ve done things here in Ohio and add new drop boxes and questions about the validity of that and to risk litigation,” said LaRose.
Katy Shanahan, the Ohio State director for All on the Line, said more drop boxes would allow voters to avoid paying postage and voters would not need to rely on United States Postal Service to get their ballot counted.
“He’s now shifted into direct voter suppression at this point,” said Shanahan. “It will make vote by mail especially less accessible and this is something that’s sort of concerning to see.”
A concern for both the Secretary of State’s office and Shanahan is a lack of poll workers, which could lead to fewer polling locations. Ohio is in need of 35,000 workers and with the elderly population normally filling those roles, new people will need to volunteer.
“I had the chance to meet a woman who had been a poll worker for 55 years. I mean think about that, never missed an election for 55 years being a poll worker,” said LaRose. “It’s time for a new generation of Ohioans to step up and take on this important civic responsibility.”