At issue was an order earlier this week from Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose that limited ballot drop boxes to one location per county: a county’s election office. LaRose had been interpreting an Ohio law that states the only two ways to return an absentee ballot are to mail it or “personally deliver it to the director” as meaning that if a voter chooses to use a drop box, it must be at the County Board of Elections office, because that is still considered to be delivering the ballot directly to the director.
But federal Judge Dan Polster said LaRose’s order puts a burden on more populous counties — like Cuyahoga, which includes Cleveland — and which he says has “a very serious looming problem” that could jeopardize the right to vote.
“While it may be said that the 7,903 registered voters in Noble County may find a single drop box location sufficient, the record demonstrates that the 858,041 registered voters in Cuyahoga County will likely not,” Polster wrote in a scathing opinion.
Polster reserved his harshest language for LaRose, who, he says, under Ohio law has the ability to allow counties to expand the number of locations where drop boxes can be. Cuyahoga wants them at public libraries.
“The Secretary is continuing to restrict boards from implementing off-site collection, and he appears to be doing so in an arbitrary manner,” Polster wrote. “The Court has given the