Advocacy groups call for more ballot drop boxes


CLEVELAND — All Voting is Local, Common Cause Ohio, Columbus Stand Up, and several religious and community organizations sent a letter this week to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose urging him to increase the number of ballot drop boxes in each county.

Ohio’s April presidential primary, which was held completely by-mail, had among the lowest voter turnout in the state’s recent history. LaRose has agreed to provide every registered voter an absentee ballot application for the general election, but hasn’t provided enough drop boxes to serve communities. In August, he issued a directive prohibiting multiple drop boxes across counties.

In their letter, the advocates wrote, “While providing every registered voter an absentee ballot application is a step in the right direction, more must be done to avoid the difficulties Ohioans faced during the primaries. We saw a process fraught with problems spurred by COVID-19, made worse by inadequate voter education and late-arriving absentee ballots after an abrupt switch to an exclusive vote-by-mail election. The unfortunate, but avoidable, result: turnout that was among the lowest in recent history with less than 24 percent of registered Ohio voters casting ballots in the 2020 presidential primary.”

The groups further urged LaRose to:

  • Reverse his directive that prohibited multiple drop boxes across counties
  • Proactively work with county Boards of Elections (BOEs) to facilitate multiple drop box locations ahead of the November general election
  • Publish clear, accessible guidance for voters on the use and locations of drop boxes
  • Standardize instructions for counties on handling and processing ballots from drop boxes

The following groups signed the letter: All Voting is Local, Common Cause Ohio, Ohio Council of Churches, Crazy Faith Ministries, Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio, and Columbus Stand Up.

Staff report

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