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2020 is looking to be a pivotal year in politics. But this year's elections are about much more than the race for the White House. And the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a complicating factor. WKSU, our colleagues at public radio stations across Ohio and the region and at NPR will bring you coverage of all the races from the national to the local level.

Ohio Democrats File Lawsuit To Add More Ballot Drop Boxes

The ballot drop box at the Delaware County Board of Elections has a drive thru. But it's behind the building near the dumpsters.
The ballot drop box at the Delaware County Board of Elections has a drive thru. But it's behind the building near the dumpsters.

After weeks of pressuring the state to add more ballot drop boxes, the Ohio Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit in Franklin County Common Pleas Court to allow county boards of elections to install more of them.

Ohio Democratic Party chair David Pepper said the goal of the lawsuit is to clarify whether the law limits each county to a single drop box at the board of elections. And he thinks it’s not too late to add more.

“My hope would be that we wouldn’t get caught in endless litigation. This is something that almost everyone is looking at agrees is simply pro-voter," Pepper said.

Pepper said counties could use federal pandemic relief funds to add more drop boxes, because they reduce crowds at polling places, allow people with health concerns to vote from home and help with stress on the postal system. Democrats and voting rights groups have pushed for ballot boxes in several states.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose had dropped his request for a legal opinion on the one per county drop box issue earlier this month, saying there wasn’t time to add more before early voting starts in October.

LaRose spokesperson Maggie Sheehan said in a statement: “Secretary LaRose has been and continues to be supportive of legislation that permits additional options for voters to return their absentee ballots. As an executive office holder, he must follow the law as the legislature writes it. His focus at this time remains on getting the Ohio Controlling Board to permit him to pay postage on absentee ballots, effectively making every blue mail box an absentee drop box.”

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.
Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.