Ohio Democratic Party Statement On Ruling In Lawsuit To Allow Additional Ballot Dropboxes

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Democratic Party released the following statement from Chairman David Pepper on today’s appellate court ruling in the lawsuit to allow county boards of elections to install multiple secure dropboxes for the return of vote-by-mail ballots:

“We are pleased that the court agreed with our contention from the outset of this dispute that nothing in Ohio law prevents the addition of dropboxes throughout counties. They explicitly rejected Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s argument that somehow Ohio statute prohibited them, which he had used as his excuse for banning all but one per county. This decision makes clear that that was a political decision and not one with any basis in state law.

“It is now time for LaRose to act on his public and private comments that he ‘would love to see more drop boxes.’ It’s the right thing to do, and there is time to allow counties to add dropboxes in the final weeks of the election, when they will be most helpful, just like they are being installed in states across the country.”

From the opinion:

From paragraph 1:  “We agree with the trial court that the Secretary’s interpretation of R.C. 3509.05 is not reasonable and that the statute neither prescribes nor prohibits ballot drop boxes at locations other than the boards of elections.”

From paragraph 1: “If, as appellees argue, the Secretary wants to permit additional drop boxes, he has the authority to do so and nothing in this decision prohibits him from rescinding Directive 2020-16 and issuing a new directive accordingly.”

From paragraph 31: “Thus, we find the Secretary of State’s interpretation of R.C. 3509.05(A) to be unreasonable, and it is therefore not entitled to deference. Instead, we agree with appellees and the trial court that R.C. 3509.05(A) does not limit the number or locations of drop boxes that a board of elections may provide. We further agree with appellees and the trial court that R.C. 3509.05(A) does not limit the Secretary of State from instructing boards of elections that they may have multiple drop boxes at alternate locations in their respective counties.”

From paragraph 46: “If the Secretary wants to permit additional drop boxes as allowed by statute, he has the authority to do so, and nothing in this decision prohibits him from rescinding Directive 2020-16 and issuing a new directive.”

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