Amidst an ongoing battle over voting access in key states around the country, an Ohio court has ruled that the state’s Secretary of State, Frank LaRose, had acted arbitrarily and unlawfully when he set restrictions on the number of ballot drop boxes at one per county. Ballot drop boxes allow another option for absentee voters to cast their ballots, and amidst fears about slowdowns in mail service across the country, the boxes could become even more critical for voters who, for whatever reason, are not heading to the polls on Election Day.
Big news for voting rights in Ohio: court rules secretary of state cannot restrict counties from adding more drop boxes for mail voting. Before this there was only 1 drop box allowed per county https://t.co/WNwytT2bFs
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) September 15, 2020
LaRose has previously claimed that he was restricted by current legislation from allowing for more than one ballot drop box per county, but the Ohio court handling this case obviously did not agree. The court concluded that LaRose “lacked a legitimate basis in evidence” and that his proclamations were “unreasonable and unlawful.” Thus, more ballot drop boxes can be placed, it seems.
Prior to the ruling, the Ohio Democratic Party sued LaRose over the drop box controversy, asking the court to rule that “Ohio law does not prohibit county boards of elections from having more than one secure drop box for the return of absentee ballots or from designating additional locations other than outside the board’s office.” The state Democratic Party noted that “[due] to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, elections officials in Ohio are projecting a marked increase in the use of absentee voting compared to prior elections.”
— Adrienne Robbins (@ARobbinsTV) September 15, 2020
The Trump campaign itself has gone to war against ballot boxes in another state: Pennsylvania, but a federal court in that state recently denied the Trump campaign’s request for a temporary ruling that would have demanded the separation of ballots cast via drop boxes and ballots cast via other means. (The Trump campaign seemingly feared that their case could become moot if the ballots were mixed.) The judge in that case, J. Nicholas Ranjan, had at one point ordered the Trump campaign to produce any evidence that they had of drop box or absentee ballot-related electoral fraud in the state, but they did not produce a single shred. Instead, they alleged that they should not have even been required to produce historical evidence for their claims in the first place.
🚨BREAKING: Pennsylvania Federal Court DENIES Trump campaign motion to segregate ballots cast in drop boxes or without an inner secrecy envelope in order to prevent commingling and to preserve the campaign’s ability to challenge those ballots later.https://t.co/xHdwqx0X0B pic.twitter.com/MNY1N77Hef
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) September 9, 2020
Trump himself has frequently ranted and raved about “mail-in” voting, which he falsely claims is full of opportunities for fraud.