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Ohio House threatens counties that mail absentee applications en masse
House Finance Committee adds the threat of a 10 percent cut in local government funds if counties try the mailings

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Cuyahoga Executive and gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald calls the move "astounding." Republicans say it ensures uniformity.
Courtesy of FILE PHOTO
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In The Region:

Ohio House Republicans are threatening to cut local government funding for any county that tries to mail unsolicited absentee ballot applications to all of its voters. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the political fight that centers squarely on Cuyahoga County.

The move – added to the state mid-biennium budget by the House Finance Committee – would cut local government funds by 10 percent. That would cost Cuyahoga County nearly $2 million a year if it follows through on a plan to mail the applications to all voters. 

GOP lawmakers in February passed a law that forbade such mailings, saying they could only be done by Secretary of State Jon Husted and then only if lawmakers specifically OK’d funding for it.

Republicans have said they want all elections in all 88 counties to be uniform.

Democrats note that the absentee mailings helped clean up voting problems in Cuyahoga County that had been a national joke in the 2004. They accuse Republicans of trying to suppress the vote in the urban areas of Ohio – which lean heavily Democratic.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald said in a statement after the amendment was added to the budget that “the lengths the Republican leadership will go to prevent their fellow Ohioans from voting is astounding.”

The cuts would affect only the share of the local government funds designated for specific counties, not the share going to municipalities within the county. 

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