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Ohio Democrats Push Back On Deadline For Counting Ballots

USPS worker unloading absentee ballots to be sent out Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Nick Evans
/
WOSU
USPS worker unloading ballots to be sent out Tuesday.

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 for November’s election.

Ohio House Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) says state law allows until November 24 to complete the official canvass. That's the period of time when county boards of elections can count ballots and handle provisional votes.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose recently issued a directive that shortened that period by six days. In a statement, LaRose said in a statement the directive is not new and the same time frame was used in the 2016 election.

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.

In addition to the delays in printing absentee ballots and changes in mail service that make it less reliable, she says boards of elections need the maximum time they can get to count ballots. Sweeney 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 says.

LaRose says the expedited deadline will ensure votes will be counted if the presidental race in Ohio is close and requires a recount.