Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has formed a task force with local and statewide elections officials to prepare for the November election. He’s pushing legislation that would make changes for November but Democrats have their own bill to do that.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose says the Ohio Association of Elections Officials and local leaders want lawmakers to pass a bill that provides funding and flexibility for local boards of elections, would send ballot applications automatically and allow voters to request those online. It would also eliminate early voting on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day. LaRose says those reforms would head off potential problems with COVID19 should the pandemic worsen.
“My focus has been and remains that we can have a normal election this November," LaRose says.
Meanwhile, Democrats in the Ohio House are backing their own bill that, among other things, would do away with the application process and mail ballots directly to voters, would keep those early voting days before the election in place. Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) says it’s not wise to get rid of voting options right now.
“We can’t be making it harder for people to vote, have less access, especially when we are going to make changes and there’s no funding for voter education in there," Sweeney says.
If Ohio lawmakers are going to pass either of the plans, they’ll need do it soon. They are scheduled to leave later this month and are not scheduled to have session again before the November election.