Ohio’s Secretary of State is asking a panel of lawmakers that controls state funds to allocate money for his office to pay for absentee ballots. The process being used has been used before.
When former Ohio Governor John Kasich wanted to expand Medicaid in 2013, he did it through the Controlling Board, a small group of appointed lawmakers, that deals with funding issues that need immediate attention. Now, Secretary of State Frank LaRose is asking that same board to allow him to use up to $3 million from another division in his office to pay for postage for absentee ballots.
"This is just another way to hopefully get to achieve something I’ve been trying to do since April which is to get postage paid for absentee ballot envelopes," LaRose says.
LaRose says he doesn’t consider this move an “end run” around the legislature because he has spoken to legislative leaders. The Ohio Legislature has not yet approved this and other election reforms LaRose wants and wouldn’t have time to do so before the November election.
Clarification - LaRose is asking to prepay postage on the ballots themselves, not the absentee ballot request forms. The postage on those will still be the responsibility of the person requesting the mail-in ballot.