State Watch

Judge rules against Ohio limiting ballot drop boxes to one per county

An Ohio county judge on Tuesday struck down a directive limiting counties in the state to one ballot drop box each in the November general election, arguing that the order was arbitrary and unreasonable, according to The Associated Press

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) originally announced the directive last month, saying at a news conference at the time that “with under three months to go until Election Day, I don’t think it’s time to change the way we have done things here in Ohio and add new drop boxes and questions about the validity of that.” 

After the directive was issued, the Ohio Democratic Party and a coalition of voting rights groups sued LaRose, calling the prohibition of election boards to install additional drop boxes unconstitutional.

The ruling comes amid national concerns on the safety of in-person voting, as well as the ability of the U.S. Postal Service to handle a surge in absentee ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

President Trump and his allies have also railed against mail-in voting and ballot drop sites, saying that the practice will lead to widespread voter fraud. However, there is little evidence to suggest that voting by mail leads to fraud. 

Maggie Sheehan, a spokesperson for LaRose, said in a statement to The Hill on Wednesday that “Ohioans deserve a full and immediate review of the ruling by the appellate courts.”

“Yesterday’s ruling has enormous implications for holding a secure and fair election in Ohio and assuring voters of the integrity of its result,” Sheehan added. 

Sheehan went on to say that while Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Richard Frye ruled that the case cannot be appealed immediately, LaRose on Wednesday requested that the judge allow the secretary to challenge the ruling. 

“He should immediately rule on the pending injunction of the Secretary’s Directive and conclude the entire case to allow an appeal,” Sheehan said. “Doing so will best serve Ohio’s voters this fall.”

Tags 2020 election absentee ballots Associated Press ballot drop box Donald Trump Frank LaRose Ohio

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