Appeals Court Issues Stay On Electronic Absentee Ballot Requests

Secretary of State Frank LaRose says the new initiative will help every eligible Ohio voter participate in the political process. [Andy Chow / Statehouse News Bureau]
Secretary of State Frank LaRose says the new initiative will help every eligible Ohio voter participate in the political process. [Andy Chow / Statehouse News Bureau]
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One of the lawsuits filed over voting in Ohio saw some action this weekend, as Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose received an emergency stay to keep him from having to accept absentee ballot requests by fax or email.

Late Friday afternoon, a Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge ruled in favor of the Ohio Democratic Party, saying requests for mail-in ballots transmitted electronically through email or by fax must be accepted. Currently, Ohio voters living overseas can request ballots electronically, but most Ohioans must fill out a printed ballot request and mail it or drop it off in person.

LaRose asked the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay, contending that allowing all voters to request ballots electronically would open up the system to fraud and would cause confusion this close to Election Day.

On Saturday, the appeals court halted the preliminary injunction pending the outcome of an appeals process it said would be “expedited for briefing, oral argument, and determination.”

Ohio Democratic Party chair David Pepper says LaRose is making the system more difficult than it should be. He says there is no reason why LaRose cannot allow every Ohio voter to request ballots electronically.

“Why should someone be able to send it from Russia and not Russia, Ohio?" Pepper asks.

More than 1 million mail-in ballots have already been requested. That’s more than the total mail-in votes in the spring primary.

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