Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose on Monday swiftly moved to block the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections from implementing a plan that would have allowed voters to drop off their completed absentee ballots at six libraries throughout the county.
The County Board of Elections unanimously approved the plan Monday morning, saying they planned to send politically balanced teams of elections workers to libraries, starting Oct. 13, where voters also could pick up and drop off absentee ballot requests. The plan appeared to be an attempt to sidestep LaRose’s order for local boards of elections to only offer a single ballot drop-box per county. Elections officials said it would help reduce congestion in the postal system, and reduce traffic at the Board of Elections headquarters in downtown Cleveland.
But hours later, a top official in LaRose’s office ordered the county to not implement the plan. Mandi Grandjean, the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office’s top attorney, in an email to elections officials cited two ongoing lawsuits over LaRose’s ballot-box order.
“Whether we like it or not, this question is still being resolved in the courts,” said Maggie Sheehan, a spokeswoman for LaRose. “We’re concerned that the Cuyahoga board doing this before this issue is resolved in the courts would cause voter confusion. In light of that, we have ordered the board to cease implementation for now.”