(The Center Square) – Ohioans can only drop off absentee ballots at county boards of elections, according to a Monday directive from Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
The orders follow a Friday appeals court ruling that said counties could have multiple drop boxes, despite LaRose saying he did not have the authority to add boxes. The judges said the decision to add boxes is up to the secretary of state.
On Monday, LaRose said can county boards must accept absentee ballots seven-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day at secure boxes at their office. It also allows election officials to collect completed absentee ballots outside of the county board of elections at convenient drive-through ballot drop-offs.
“Ohio voters now have more options to return absentee ballots than ever before,” LaRose said in the directive. “These options are in addition to the most convenient and commonly used method for voters to return absentee ballots – by mail – which continues to be a safe and standard method for absentee voting.”
Also, LaRose will ask the General Assembly to clarify election law after the recent lawsuit. The law reads that if not mailed, absentee ballots must be personally delivered “to the director” and in no other manner.
“[Tuesday], absentee ballots will begin being mailed out to over 2 million Ohioans who requested them and voting starts at 88 voting locations across the state in what will be the most accessible election in state history,” LaRose said. “Despite predictable partisan politics that attempt to create phony crises, we have kept our eye on the ball and Ohio’s election officials are ready to administer a safe, secure and accurate election.”
An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.