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Government & Politics

Ohio Canvass Period Shortened and Some Fear That Could Lead To Voters Being Disenfranchised

boxes of delayed absentee ballots
Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Thousands of voters who requested absentee ballots by mail are receiving them late this year. The delayed ballots are just one factor that Ohio House Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney says necessitates boards of elections needing the maximum time allowed by law to count votes.

Some Democratic state lawmakers want to know why Republican Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is shortening the amount of time counties can have to finish the official count from November’s election.

Ohio House Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney says state law allows until Nov. 24th to complete the official canvass. That's the period of time when county boards of elections can count ballots and handle provisional votes. LaRose recently issued a directive that shortened that period by six days.

Sweeney says Ohio is projecting a huge voter turnout, with many early voters and first-time voters. That could mean more voter confusion and mistakes that would need to be corrected. Plus, she says there have been  ballot printing delays and changes in mail service that make it less reliable. So she says boards of elections need the maximum time they can get to count ballots. And she fears without enough time, voters could be disenfranchised. 

“One person who could have had their ballot counted who didn’t, that’s one too many," Sweeney said.

A spokesman for LaRose says the expedited deadline will ensure there would be enough time for recounts if necessary.  

Updated at 6 p.m. with a statement from LaRose's office. You can read it here.
Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.