The primary election plan unanimously agreed to by the Ohio Assembly will dramatically reduce voter participation. Of course, participation will be suppressed at this point, regardless. But the plan approved by the Assembly advances the worst solution to a difficult problem.
I am flabbergasted that every Democrat in the Ohio Assembly agreed to this absurd decision. I can’t understand why our Democratic members of the Assembly did not support the clearly superior plan proposed by Secretary of State, Frank Larosa. I’m hoping there is more to this story than I know.
If the goal is to encourage voter participation, the Larosa plan is preferable because this plan clearly would result in many more people voting than the plan approved by the Assembly. Just the requirement to pay for the needed postage would discourage some voters. Greatly reducing the number of days that voting is allowed would have an impact. Why did Democrats not support the better plan?
What the Assembly unanimously agreed to:
- The Ohio Secretary of State must design, print and mail approximately 7.8 million informational postcards to every registered Ohioan that explains to them how to obtain the form necessary to request an absentee ballot.
- Based on preliminary estimates from prospective vendors, it is expected that these postcards will reach registered voters in the second week of April.
- Voters who want to cast a ballot must then either print out an absentee ballot request form themselves or call their county board and ask for one to be sent to them.
- Voters must then affix their own postage and send the request to their county board of elections.
- Boards must then process the request, print the ballot and send it to the voter.
- Each voter must receive their ballot, cast their vote, and return the ballot in a postage-paid envelope, postmarked by April 27th.
What Secretary of State, Frank LaRosa, proposed:
- The Secretary of State would directly mail postage-paid absentee ballot request forms to the approximately 7.2 million registered Ohioans who have not yet voted. These forms would arrive at the homes of voters around April 27th. This plan would essentially skip the step of sending informational postcards.
- Interested voters would send their postage-paid requests back to their boards, who in turn would process the request, print the ballot and send it to the voter.
- Voters would have until June 1 to postmark their ballot in a postage-paid envelope for submission and tabulation at their county board of elections.
- This plan afforded all voters a fair, safe opportunity to cast their ballots by mail and a limited in-person voting opportunity, pending the public health emergency being lifted, for Ohioans with disabilities and those who can not receive mail.