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Controlling board denies LaRose request for absentee ballot postage

Secretary of State Frank LaRose had requested approval for a $3 million budget item that would pay for postage on all returned absentee ballots for the 2020 general election in November.
The Controlling Board denied a request by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose to cover return postage for all absentee ballots for the 2020 election.
The Controlling Board denied a request by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose to cover return postage for all absentee ballots for the 2020 election.(Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune)
Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 4:00 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Voters hoping to vote by mail this election season will still need to pay their own postage after the Controlling Board shot down a proposal from the Ohio Secretary of State to cover that expense.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose had requested approval for a $3 million budget item that would pay for postage on all returned absentee ballots for the 2020 general election in November. The funds would have allowed anyone who wished to utilize the state’s expanded absentee voting system to do so at no cost to them.

That request was denied on Monday.

Following the denial, LaRose released the following statement urging all voters to understand the deadlines for this election season:

“Ohio has a sound elections system, but today was another missed opportunity by the legislature to make a small change, without an impact on our state budget, that would yield a big improvement. Ohio voters have 216 hours to vote early in person from October 6 through November 2, 13 hours to vote on Election Day, or they can request an absentee ballot by mail and it will be sent to them beginning October 6. Make a plan. Don’t procrastinate. Make sure your voice is heard.”

Current first-class postage through the US Postal Service is $0.55. According to a report from Reuters, an erroneous Facebook post earlier this year claimed that ballots would require additional postage to be properly received by the service. That report was refuted. The amount of postage required varies depending on where you live, but the USPS will deliver ballot mail regardless of whether the appropriate postage is included.

Absentee ballots, also to referred to in this election cycle as “vote by mail," can be obtained by mailing in a ballot request form to your local Board of Elections. These request forms can be obtained through the Secretary of State’s website or through your local Board of Elections websites. A number of request forms have also been mailed out to all registered Ohio voters. These also require appropriate postage.

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