(The Center Square) – Republicans on Ohio’s Controlling Board rejected Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s request to attach prepaid postage on every mail-in ballot in the state of Ohio.
In a Monday meeting, the Republican-majority board voted 4-2 along party lines to turn down LaRose’s $3 million ask, making it nearly impossible for Ohio absentee ballots to go out with prepaid postage.
“Ohio has a sound elections system, but today was another missed opportunity by the legislature to make a small change, without an impact on our state budget, that would yield a big improvement,” LaRose said in a statement following the vote.
LaRose, who used CARES Act funding to mail an absentee ballot request form to every registered voter in Ohio, initially asked lawmakers in May to pay the postage return. He first went to the controlling board Aug. 24.
According to a news release, LaRose said logistical deadlines of the U.S. Postal Service to obtain stamps and allow time for them to be applied made Monday the latest realistic chance for the legislature to approve the request.
The plan to apply stamps to each absentee ballot was supported by the Ohio Association of Election Officials.
“Ohio’s bipartisan election professionals, those who you have worked with and entrusted to administer our elections, implore you to give favorable consideration to this request,” a letter from the Ohio Association of Election Officials to the controlling board read. “Working together, the legislature, the secretary of state and local boards of elections can overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19 and continue Ohio’s long track record of conducting fair, accurate and honest elections.”
With Monday’s decision, LaRose encouraged Ohio voters to make a plan for the upcoming election.
“Ohio voters have 216 hours to vote early in person from Oct. 6 through Nov. 2, 13 hours to vote on election day or they can request an absentee ballot by mail and it will be sent to them beginning Oct. 6,” LaRose said. “Make a plan. Don’t procrastinate. Make sure your voice is heard.”
J.D. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square