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Government and Politics


Cuyahoga's decision caps a day of furious twists in the voting rights battle in Ohio
The largest county in the state will mail absentee ballot applications to all voters despite a state law forbidding it
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
FitzGerald told council Cuyahoga has advanced the voting rights issue for the entire state.
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Cuyahoga County Council plans to mail out absentee ballot applications to all registered voters. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports tonight's vote to do that is just the latest twist in a furious two days of chicken between Ohio’s largest Democratic county and its Republican state lawmakers.

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House Republicans started the week by threatening to cut local government funding to any county that violates a new state law that forbids anyone but the Secretary of State from mailing absentee ballot applications – and then only if lawmakers say OK. 

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald – Democrat running for governor – said that was such a heavy-handed attempt to suppress voter turnout he’s calling on the feds to investigate. 

The House dropped the threat just before County County met,  and Secretary of State Jon Husted says the state will mail out ballot applications to all voters statewide this year. 

But FitzGerald said the county cannot concede to a law that interferes with Cuyahoga’s home-rule power to help voters. 

“It takes away by law our right to do so and it also, not coincidentally, does not guarantee that the state will continue to mail out those ballots. If they wanted to take away our power to do it so the state could do so they very easily could have said that counties cannot do it if the state continues to do so. But they did not do so, and I would submit that was quite intentional.” 

The county council vote was 8-3, with the three Republicans voting no. They say voting should be uniform throughout the state, especially with contiguous counties.

 

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