COLUMBUS — The Ohio Democratic Party today filed a lawsuit in state court to require county boards of elections to accept absentee ballot applications via email, fax or other electronic means.
“In 2020, when we have all of this technology available that allows people to conduct so many activities securely online, voters should not have to choose between their health or their right to vote,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “Secretary of State Frank LaRose says that he supports online absentee ballot applications. However, he claims — inaccurately, as we lay out in our lawsuit — that he requires legislative action to allow county boards of elections to accept them. We hope he will agree with our suit that electronic applications from voters must be accepted per Ohio law that is already in place. We hope LaRose won’t fight us in court over something that is so helpful to voters during this pandemic — something that he says he supports.
“As for the General Assembly, unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the past two weeks is a legislature that has been rocked by scandal as the now-former Speaker of the House has been indicted for racketeering. We cannot sit idly by and wait for the dysfunctional GOP-led legislature to get this done, especially when that is unnecessary. It is now 95 days until Election Day. However, we are only 67 days until early voting begins. That is when absentee ballots will be mailed out. That’s a little over two months away. We need action now.
“Here is our basic point — not only is legislative action not needed for electronic filing of applications, we believe that rejecting applications because they have been sent in electronically violates current Ohio law. The Ohio Elections Code provides that the written application for an absentee ballot ‘need not be in any particular form.’ It does not require an application to be mailed. It does not require an original signature. To reject the submission of an application that contains all the required information simply because an application is sent electronically is a violation of Ohio law.”