Democratic Party files suit seeking more ballot dropboxes

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit seeking to allow county boards of elections to install multiple dropboxes for absentee ballots in November’s election.

“Expanding the availability of secure voter dropboxes within Ohio counties would make an enormous difference for safe, secure and easy voting in Ohio, as well as eliminate delays in boards receiving ballots through the mail system,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said in a press release announcing the suit, which was filed in state court.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who is named as the sole defendant in the lawsuit, said last week his office is not allowed to authorize additional dropboxes without permission from the state legislature.

“I can’t do things that I’m not allowed to do under law whether I like them or not,” he said. “So would I like to expand dropboxes in the state of Ohio? Absolutely. Can’t do it without legislative permission.”

The statement from the state Democratic Party says many states use dropboxes and a majority of those states’ voters return their ballots via those boxes.

Cuyahoga County has one dropbox — and more than 860,000 registered voters, the statement said.

The statement went on to argue that voters who rely on public transportation face a particular hardship. As an example, the statement says travel times to Franklin County’s one secure dropbox in the northern suburbs of Columbus could reach up to an hour or more one-way.

“Having just one additional dropbox in downtown Columbus would cut those commutes in half in many cases, and more dropboxes would have an even more dramatic impact,” the statement says.

Maggie Sheehan, spokeswoman for LaRose’s office, released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

“Secretary LaRose has been and continues to be supportive of legislation that permits additional options for voters to return their absentee ballots. As an executive office holder, he must follow the law as the legislature writes it. His focus at this time remains on getting the Ohio Controlling Board to permit him to pay postage on absentee ballots, effectively making every blue mail box an absentee drop box.”

Maggie Sheehan

Read the full lawsuit below. App users, tap here.

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