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LaRose Says Overblown Claims of Voter Fraud and Suppression Hurt Democracy

photo of Frank LaRose
Frank LaRose speaks to the Akron Press Club.

The Republican running for Ohio Secretary of State says the passion of both parties over voting issues may be doing damage to American’s confidence in their democracy. Frank Larose, the state senator who hopes to succeed Secretary of State Jon Husted, told the Akron Press Club today any move that disenfranchises any voters or allows any voter fraud is too much.

“But nobody should overstate the existence of either fraud or suppression because I think what it does is underminds the confidence that voters have.” 

LaRose said he supported President Trump’s voter fraud panel because he hoped it would be a bipartisan effort to study how to better elections."

LaRose on Trump's panel

“When we can put thoughtful people together to look at solutions for how things can be made better, I don’t think that’s ever a bad thing. Obviously this panel did not function well and has been disbanded as a result.”

LaRose said he disagrees with President Trump on some other issues, but would his support campaigning in Ohio.

LaRose: Trump's no choir boy

“I don’t tend to interact with people the way that he does, but listen, we didn’t elect him to be a choir boy and he certainly isn’t. But he certainly is a change agent, and if he wanted to come to ohio and campaign for me, I’d welcome that. “

Trump won Ohio by 9 percentage points, the largest margin since George H.W. Bush beat Michael Dukakis. And a new poll by Baldwin Wallace says 88 percent of those who said they voted for Trump say he still has their partial or full support.

Both LaRose and the Democratic candidate for secretary of state, state Rep. Kathleen Clyde,  have come out in support of a May ballot issue that would change how congressional districts in Ohio are drawn. Ohio has some of the worst gerrymandering in the country, with counties divided and districts stretched in odd configurations across the state to favor Republicans

LaRose has been pushing for change. He told the Akron Press Club both parties have engaged over the years in map-making to benefit their interests. But he acknowledged that without citizen’s groups pressing for reform, the GOP-dominated Legislature likely would not have taken up the issue.

LaRose on redistricting

“As a result, we did something pretty historic. We passed bipartisan redistricting reform. Republicans and Democrats actually came together to agree on this very contentious high-stakes issue.”

Clyde will speak to the Press Club April 9

M.L. Schultze came to WKSU as news director in July 2007 after 25 years at The Repository in Canton, where she was managing editor for nearly a decade. She’s now the digital editor and an award-winning reporter and analyst who has appeared on NPR, Here and Now and the TakeAway, as well as being a regular panelist on Ideas, the WVIZ public television's reporter roundtable.