(The Center Square) – Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose cautioned Ohioans to vote just once in November’s general election, despite recent words from President Donald Trump that seemed to encourage voters to vote more than once to be sure their votes are counted.
At a news conference Tuesday, LaRose said Ohioans voting absentee can easily track their ballot at the state’s website to be sure it arrives at a county board of election office.
“Ohioans have three really good choices to vote, four weeks of early voting, four weeks of absentee voting and safe and secure election day voting. Ohioans should pick the one they are most comfortable with,” LaRose said. “Ohioans should know they will only be allowed to vote once. You should track your ballot at voteohio.gov and see the board of election gets your ballot.”
Trump has encouraged supporters who vote by mail to go to the polling place anyway to see if the mail-in vote was counted. At a North Carolina rally video of which was posted on Facebook, he said if votes had not been counted then voters should vote at the poll.
Last week, all Ohio voters began receiving absentee ballot request forms through the mail. At the same time, LaRose continues to work with the Ohio Legislature and State Controlling Board to provide return postage for absentee ballots. The controlling board must authorize the expenditure, which LaRose said will not add to the state budget, but rather come from his office.
“I have the authority to do this. I have no doubt in my mind I have the authority to do this, as long as they authorize the expenditure,” LaRose said.
At this late time frame, LaRose said his office likely will provide boxes of stamps to county boards of elections. The effort, he said, basically turns every mailbox in Ohio into a ballot drop box.
There will be two more rounds of forms still to be mailed to Ohioans who register to vote through the Oct. 5 registration deadline. The estimated cost of the mailings, which required 17 full-length tractor trailers to deliver to the U.S. Post Office, is $1.1 million, and according to LaRose, that money is coming from federal CARES dollars.
J.D. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square