Ohio Secretary of State Blocks Cuyahoga County from Establishing Ballot Dropboxes at Libraries


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A voting booth from the Ohio Primary Election

Nick Sack, World News Editor

On Monday, Sept. 14, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose moved to block the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections from installing drop-off boxes for voters to submit their absentee ballots at six public libraries.


Earlier on Monday, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections unanimously supported a plan to send politically balanced teams of election workers to six libraries, starting Oct. 13, where voters could pick up and drop off absentee ballot requests.


This plan could be seen as an attempt to avoid the order that LaRose has given previously, requiring local boards to have only a single ballot drop-off per county.


“It would help reduce congestion in the postal system and reduce traffic at the Board of Elections headquarters in downtown Cleveland,” said election officials, according to Cleveland.com


Hours later, an official from LaRose’s office ordered the board to discontinue the plan. Two lawsuits related to the plan are currently pending.


“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.”


The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is currently composed of two Republicans and two Democrats, but they agree that extra ballot locations would alleviate the pressure on election workers and give extra options to voters. 


Cleveland.com reported that “the county has processed 221,000 absentee ballot requests, already exceeding the 208,657 total from the 2016 election.” 


“We just wanted to take the pressure off drop boxes for safety issues and make it a little easier for all Cuyahoga County residents to vote in a safe and secure manner,” Board of Elections Chairman Jeff Hastings told Cleveland.com. Hastings affirmed that the board would heed LaRose’s orders.


The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections hopes that the lawsuits are handled soon, according to Cleveland.com, so that they have enough time to set up any further precautionary measures related to the election. 


If successful, the Board of Elections aims to put drop-off boxes at the following locations:


Cuyahoga County Libraries:


  • Fairview Park Branch – 21255 Lorain Road
  • North Royalton Branch – 5071 Wallings Road
  • South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch – 1876 S. Green Road


Cleveland Public Libraries:


  • South Brooklyn Branch – 4303 Pearl Road
  • Harvard-Lee Branch – 16918 Harvard Ave.
  • Glenville Branch – 11900 St. Clair Ave.