Federal Judge To Revisit Ohio Limit On Ballot Drop Boxes
This Saturday, March 14, 2020 file photo, shows a view of a ballot box on a counter prepared for early voting at the Warren County Board of Elections, in Lebanon, Ohio. Ohio and Republican groups including the Trump campaign are defending a GOP election chief's directive limiting ballot drop boxes in the critical presidential battleground to one per county. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster, File)
A voting rights group keen on expanding access to ballot drop boxes in Novembers election is getting a second chance to make its case, after a federal judge agreed Thursday to reconsider his earlier ruling.
- Associated Press
- Last Updated: October 8, 2020, 21:30 IST
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COLUMBUS, Ohio: A voting rights group keen on expanding access to ballot drop boxes in Novembers election is getting a second chance to make its case, after a federal judge agreed Thursday to reconsider his earlier ruling.
U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland had dismissed the A. Philip Randolph Institute’s case Tuesday, because he said Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose had issued a new order a day earlier that permitted ballot drop boxes at multiple locations within a county. That had been what the institute’s lawsuit was seeking.
But LaRose’s office said, by allowing drop boxes outside boards of elections, his new directive was meant to restrict them to board property just outside the building not to allow them off-site.
The competing interpretations left the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in a legal bind. Polster ruled that they could move forward with their plan to set up ballot drop boxes at six public libraries scattered around the county. Lawyers for LaRose immediately ordered the county not to proceed, calling Polster’s interpretation of the order expressly contrary to its intent.
In a motion for reconsideration filed Wednesday, the institute’s lawyers said Polster’s interpretation relied on the belief that Defendant LaRose had taken action to address the looming crisis for voters in Cuyahoga County. Defendant LaRose, however, has utterly failed to take any such action.
The dispute comes as ballot drop boxes have become an appealing option for voters seeking to address worries about voting in person due to the coronavirus pandemic and worries that voting by mail may not be reliable, a misstaken idea that has been promoted by Republican President Donald Trump.
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