Frank LaRose

Sometime soon - very soon - Ohio's chief elections officer, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, is going to have to make a decision: Does he make it easier for people with absentee ballots to return them to their county boards of election, or does he make it harder?

Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the state's top elections official, is working with craft breweries to help increase the number of registered voters in Ohio. He says this is just one way to reach eligible voters.

Franklin County Board of Elections during the delayed spring election on April 28, 2020.
Ryan Hitchcock / WOSU

In four months, Ohio voters will cast their ballots. Election officials are trying to make sure everyone who wants to vote can, while keeping everyone safe from the pandemic that's currently surging around the country.

Security outside of the Franklin County Board of Elections on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
Ryan Hitchcock / WOSU

Ohio has more of an idea about what this November’s election will look like, after the Secretary of State handed down a directive to all 88 county boards of elections.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, overseeing the Election Night Reporting Center, in Columbus, Ohio, calls for the closing of the polls in the Ohio primary election, Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
Gene Puskar / Associated Press

Ohio will send out an absentee ballot request form to every registered voter ahead of November’s election, which the Secretary of State expects to be the biggest in state history.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, right, overseeing the Election Night Reporting Center in Columbus, Ohio, watches early returns in the Ohio primary election from the Election Night Command Center, Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
Gene Puskar / Associated Press

Republicans in the Ohio House passed a fast-tracked bill that would make some changes in election law for the November election. The legislation was much different than the original plan opposed by voter groups, but it still failed to get any Democratic votes.

A bowl of stickers for those taking advantage of early voting, Sunday, March 15, 2020, in Steubenville, Ohio.
Gene Puskar / Associated Press

On a party-line vote, an Ohio House committee passed a bill that will make some changes to election law. Backers say it gives more flexibility to election officials should COVID-19 cause changes this November but its opponents have concerns.

Republican state officials who want to expand absentee and mail-in voting during the pandemic have found themselves in an uncomfortable position due to their party's rhetoric.

President Trump has claimed repeatedly, without providing evidence, that mail-in voting is ripe for fraud and bad for the GOP. He and other Republicans have charged that Democrats might use it to "steal" the election.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, right, overseeing the Election Night Reporting Center in Columbus, Ohio, watches early returns in the Ohio primary election from the Election Night Command Center, Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
Gene Puskar / Associated Press

Ohio’s Secretary of State says an election day with in-person voting is still the plan for this fall, but he’s suggesting some changes in case concerns about coronavirus keep voters away.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, overseeing the Election Night Reporting Center, in Columbus, Ohio, calls for the closing of the polls in the Ohio primary election, Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
Gene Puskar / Associated Press

In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss how Ohio handled its primary election during this global pandemic. They also talk about the controversy over who is and is not required to wear masks in stores and other businesses.

Just under a quarter of Ohio’s registered voters actually cast ballots in the primary election which ended earlier this week. Low turnout was expected after the original March 17th in person Election Day was canceled because of coronavirus concerns, and absentee voting by mail was extended until this past Tuesday. And there are now calls for change to make it easier to vote this fall.

Security outside of the Franklin County Board of Elections on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
Ryan Hitchcock / WOSU

The League of Women Voters said Ohio's low voter turnout is proof that the state was unprepared for a mostly vote-by-mail primary election. 

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, right, overseeing the Election Night Reporting Center in Columbus, Ohio, watches early returns in the Ohio primary election from the Election Night Command Center, Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
Gene Puskar / Associated Press

Ohio's election Tuesday was definitely out of the ordinary, but Secretary of State Frank LaRose still counts it as successful.

Rebecca Roth reviews applications for election ballots at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

More than 1.97 million Ohioans requested mail-in ballots ahead of Tuesday's primary election. But boards of elections across the state are still expecting some voters to cast provisional ballots in person.

Jim O'Bryan drops off his election ballot in the drop box at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

Ohio's virus-extended 2020 primary is finally coming to end, nearly 10 weeks after voting began. State officials postponed in-person voting scheduled March 17 due to safety amid the pandemic, and they wound up with a mostly vote-by-mail plan that will allow in-person voting Tuesday for some people with special circumstances.

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