We’re back with a mid-week update to give you the backstory on Innovation Ohio’s latest analysis, outlining four actions Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose can take today to make the November election safer & more accessible.
Ohio Senate Refuses to Pass Bad Voting Bill, Calls For More Hearings on HB680
Now it’s up to Secretary of State Frank LaRose to make sure the November election is safe for all Ohio voters.
In Monday’s update, we wrote about an Ohio Senate hearing and possible vote on a bill (House Bill 680) to move up the deadline to request an absentee ballot in November. The bill would also unnecessarily tie the hands of the Secretary of State, disallowing him from doing a number of things to make it easier to vote by mail. A lot has happened since then.
Many Senators and witnesses, including Sec. LaRose, support the idea to move up the deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot to ensure mail delays don’t result in voters receiving it too late to return it by the deadline. However, other provisions in the bill — revoking the Secretary’s authority to provide return postage for ballots and failing to explicitly authorize a way for voters to request their absentee ballot online — appear unpopular among Senators on a bipartisan basis, and the Chairman held the bill over for future hearings.
If the Senate makes any changes to the bill, it would need action by the House in order to become law – a 90-day process that already puts us in late October.
On Tuesday, as HB680 was being heard, news broke of a $60 million corruption scandal involving the House Speaker.
Larry Householder has resisted calls to step down and members of his leadership team continue to oppose calls to expel him. Until the House replaces the Speaker — who as a condition of his release on felony charges — cannot travel or be in contact with any potential witnesses in the case — it cannot function to do the work of the people.
Innovation Ohio Calls on Secretary of State Frank LaRose To Act
In order to have a safe and accessible election, Ohio voters have only one hope left and it’s Secretary of State Frank LaRose. Today we published an analysis showing that the Secretary has the authority, without an act of the legislature, to:
- Include and pay for return postage on all absentee ballot applications and ballots
- Allow voters to submit an absentee ballot request online
- Establish multiple secure drop boxes for absentee ballot return
- Commit to resist efforts to close polling locations, which only results in longer lines and more crowded indoor spaces
It’s time for LaRose to act with or without the assistance of the legislature. All In For Ohio has created a petition you can sign to send a message to Secretary of State LaRose that our elections are too important to be held up thanks to a dysfunctional legislature.