COLUMBUS, Ohio — Secretary of State Frank LaRose is on a crusade to make sure this pandemic doesn’t dissuade people from participating in the November election.
What You Need To Know
- The Ohio Secretary of State is looking to make changes to ensure all Ohioans can vote safely in the November election
- He's sending out mass absentee ballot request forms at no cost to voters
- He's getting pushback from his own party
"If we start working now, we can have a normal election this November, and what that means is Ohioans will have the same three choices that they’ve had for close to 20 years. That means a month of early, in-person voting, a month of early absentee voting, and in-person day of voting,” said LaRose.
He’s trying to simplify the voting from home options by sending out mass absentee ballot request forms at no cost to voters.
“The one change I want to make to that procedure is that I want to make it a postage-paid envelope. I just don’t think people should have to pay their own money to cast a ballot,” LaRose said.
Former Secretary of State and current Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted is on board.
“In a COVID world, nobody has to go in and vote in person. What Secretary LaRose is trying to do is enhance that vote by mail system,” Husted said.
But LaRose is hitting some major roadblocks— specifically from his own party.
The House recently passed Republican-backed House Bill 680, which says federal funds can’t pay for postage and shortens absentee request deadlines by four days.
Even the president is sowing seeds of doubt with the vote-by-mail system, tweeting:
"Mail-in voting will lead to massive fraud and abuse. It will also lead to the end of our great Republican party."
But Jen Miller, at the League of Women Voters, says this isn’t true.
“Concerns about voter fraud when it comes to vote-by-mail in Ohio are almost non existent. Of course, we care about security, but at the end of the day we need to balance that with accessibility. And what we see in Ohio is actually that our vote-by-mail system is not prone to fraud, but actually the opposite— that it's very inaccessible,” said Miller.
While the legislature mulls over how much power they want to give LaRose, he’s focused on ensuring our election is a safe one on every front.
“Obviously, we’re all thinking about another virus right now, but the computer virus is something we have to be concerned about. And malicious actors, foreign or otherwise, are always going to try and exploit vulnerabilities,” said LaRose.
*This story has been updated.