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DeWine encourages anxious Ohioans to request ballots early

Posted at 1:56 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 19:31:40-04

In a Tuesday afternoon briefing focused primarily on the imminent return of school sports, Gov. Mike DeWine also encouraged Ohioans to request their November ballots early if they are concerned about postal delays impeding their ability to vote.

“Send in your letter asking for that application,” he said. “My understanding is, when the magical date comes, they can send that right to you, and you’ll get it early, get it back, and I think that is important.”

Days before, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose ruled against installing more ballot dropboxes throughout the state ahead of the November presidential election. Each of Ohio’s 88 counties will have exactly one secure dropbox for people to deposit their ballots.

The decision raised concern for some voters, including Ohio Democratic Party chair David Pepper.

“We’re in a pandemic,” he said Thursday. “We should be looking for every possible way to make voting easy and safe.”

Concerns like his have been amplified by reports about sudden cost-cutting changes to the United States Postal Service and President Donald Trump’s frank admission he is starving the Postal Service of money in order to make it harder to process an expected surge of mail-in ballots, which he worries could cost him the election.

DeWine did not voice an opinion on Trump’s public comments or the changes his administration was making, except for an ironic aside: “Well, the president didn’t consult me on that.”

However, he and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted attempted to reassure Ohioans that the election would proceed smoothly and fairly in November, no matter how participants voted.

“It’s worked in Ohio in the past,” Husted said of mail-in and dropbox voting. “We’re not doing anything differently for the most part, and so it will work again.”

Husted also encouraged Ohioans to request their ballots early and track them online if they need reassurance the ballot will safely return to the local board of elections.