COLUMBUS — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose on April 23 provided guidance to boards of elections about April 28, election day.
Voters who have yet to cast a ballot can vote provisionally in person at their county boards of elections on Tuesday, April 28. In response, the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition issued the following statement:
“Faced with a historic pandemic, Ohioans from all stripes and backgrounds have stepped up to do their part — whether it’s flattening the curve in Ohio, or having a say in their democracy,” said Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio.
“The Ohio legislature, unfortunately, has not done its part. Our legislative leaders have needlessly endangered our democracy by refusing to provide sufficient time or financial resources to conduct a vote-by-mail election amid a pandemic,” Miller added. “While we welcome this provision by Secretary LaRose, we remain concerned that many voters will not be able to make use of this backstop, due to lack of transportation, lack of knowledge, or concerns for contracting the virus.”
The announcement means that voters who have not cast a ballot have the option of voting in person at their boards of elections from 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. on April 28.
“Elections officials have faced many challenges during this primary, and we appreciate all their hard work,” said Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio. “This option offers a fair alternative to voters who applied by the deadline but, through no fault of their own, did not receive a ballot in time.”
Voter advocates and election officials warned legislators that their plan for the primary would leave many Ohioans without a voice.
“Across the state, voters report waiting too long for their ballots to arrive, while other voters remain confused about how to navigate the vote by mail process,” said Mike Brickner, Ohio State director at All Voting is Local. “This last-minute change is not enough to fix the problems that have plagued Ohio’s new primary election, and our elected officials must act now to ensure voters are never put in this position again.”
“While we encourage voters to do everything possible to remain safe, we also recognize that Ohioans should not have been forced to choose between their health and their right to vote.,” said Camille Wimbish, election administration director at Ohio Voice. “The Ohio legislature must stop working against voters and do its job. They must let Ohioans exercise their right to vote and stop putting Ohio families, workers and neighbors in danger.”