Ohio SOS Frank LaRose Says Federal Court Misunderstood His Order, Tells Cuyahoga County to Stand Down on Ballot Collection Expansion


State officials have told Cuyahoga County elections officials that they still can’t proceed with their plan to set up ballot collection sites at county libraries, saying a federal judge in a written order incorrectly described a policy set by Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Dan Polster dismissed a lawsuit from voter rights’ advocates who sought an expansion of ballot drop box sites in Ohio. His rationale was that LaRose had issued a written directive to county elections officials that said staffed, off-site ballot collection sites like the ones Cuyahoga County had planned were allowed, making the issue moot.

But that’s not what LaRose’s guidance actually said, Bridget Coontz, an assistant Ohio attorney general, said in a Wednesday email to a Cuyahoga County attorney.

“Contrary to the Court’s statement in its Order, the Secretary’s recent Directive … did not authorize the portion of the Cuyahoga County Board’s Plan ‘to receive ballots at six public libraries,’ nor did the Directive authorize ‘any other board in Ohio that votes to do so [to] deploy its staff to receive ballots off-site,’ Coontz wrote in her email, a copy of which was obtained by cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer.


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