COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose released a statement Wednesday regarding legislation that finalized Ohio’s primary election, which was postponed last week.
“Today my friends in the legislature did the right thing by extending deadlines and postponing requirements on everything from taxes to school testing, so it’s disappointing that they’ve instead chosen to significantly reduce the time provided for Ohio to bring this primary to a close. The proposal that Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted and I laid out was preferable, and unlike the plan enacted today, our proposal would have concluded the election by putting a ballot request directly in the hands of every voter along with a postage-paid return envelope. Though I advocated for a different plan, the legislature has spoken, and I will uphold my oath of office by doing everything in my power over the next 34 days to ensure that every Ohio voter has the opportunity to safely make their voice heard.”
Here is the legislature’s primary election plan, which contrasts with Secretary’s LaRose’s Voters First Act:
THE LEGISLATURE’S PRIMARY ELECTION PLAN:
- The Ohio Secretary of State must design, print and mail approximately 7.8 million informational postcards to every registered Ohioan that explains to them how to obtain the form necessary to request an absentee ballot.
- Based on preliminary estimates from prospective vendors, it is expected that these postcards will reach registered voters in the second week of April.
- Voters who want to cast a ballot must then either print out an absentee ballot request form themselves or call their county board and ask for one to be sent to them.
- Voters must then affix their own postage and send the request to their county board of elections.
- Boards must then process the request, print the ballot and send it to the voter.
- Each voter must receive their ballot, cast their vote, and return the ballot in a postage-paid envelope, postmarked by April 27th.
SECRETARY LAROSE’S OHIO VOTERS FIRST ACT:
- The Secretary of State would directly mail postage-paid absentee ballot request forms to the approximately 7.2 million registered Ohioans who have not yet voted. These forms would arrive at the homes of voters around April 27th. This plan would essentially skip the step of sending informational postcards.
- Interested voters would send their postage-paid requests back to their boards, who in turn would process the request, print the ballot and send it to the voter.
- Voters would have until June 1 to postmark their ballot in a postage-paid envelope for submission and tabulation at their county board of elections.
- This plan afforded all voters a fair, safe opportunity to cast their ballots by mail and a limited in-person voting opportunity, pending the public health emergency being lifted, for Ohioans with disabilities and those who can not receive mail.
BACKGROUND ON OHIO’S LONG-STANDING PROCEDURES FOR ABSENTEE VOTING:
- To vote in the primary, voters must submit an absentee ballot request to their county board of elections that, among other requirements, informs the board of the voter’s choice of a party or local Issues ballot. Usually these requests are printed and mailed by the voter.
- Once received, the board will process the request, print a ballot for the specified voter, and mail it out.
- Upon receiving the ballot, the voter will vote, complete the necessary form, sign it and mail it to the board. Absentee ballots must be postmarked the day before the final day of the election and will have until 10 days after the election to be received.