Ohio SOS LaRose Argues Courts Should Defer to His “Reasonable” Interpretation of Ohio Law to Allow Only One Drop Box for Absentee Ballots Per County; He Should Favor an Interpretation Enfranchising Voters

You can find the brief at this link.

This is disappointing from Secretary LaRose. The brief argues that to the extent the statute is ambiguous, the courts should give his interpretation deference.

Yet Secretary LaRose has said he favored expansive use of drop boxes if they are legal. Now he’s using a legal argument against them when they could well be legal to the extent the court should defer to his interpretation.

More importantly, there is a longstanding rule of statutory interpretation (which I’ve called the “Democracy Canon“) which counsels that in the case of an ambiguous election law, courts should put a thumb on the scale favoring voters and enfranchisement. That should have led the Secretary to the opposite conclusion in this case.

LaRose also said in the lower court that one drop box per county is equitable. But we have equality of voters, not counties. See my article, When is Uniformity of People, Not Counties, Appropriate in Election Administration? The Cases of Early and Sunday Voting, 2015 UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LEGAL FORUM 193.

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