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LaRose says ballot dropbox ruling ‘didn’t change anything’

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 1:53 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - The Franklin County Common Pleas Court has ruled counties have the right and ability to place multiple ballot drop boxes in their areas, contradicting a directive sent by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose in August.

Judge Richard A. Frye brings up three unique circumstances affecting the 2020 election -- the coronavirus pandemic, delay of U.S. Mail delivery, and there being no statutory ruling previous to this.

However, LaRose rebuffed the judge, saying he had not ruled on the Plaintiff’s request.

“Importantly, while the judge issued a declaration as to the law regarding the return of absentee ballots and drop boxes, he did not rule on the Plaintiff’s request to enjoin the Secretary’s Directive. Lacking that, today’s ruling didn’t change anything and the Secretary’s Directive remains in place. The law is clear: absentee ballots must be delivered by mail or personally deliver[ed] to the director’ of their county board of elections and ‘in no other manner’. Ohioans are fortunate that the judicial branch offers the opportunity to appeal a single trial judge’s opinion.”

Office of Secretary of State Frank LaRose

The court said LaRose’s directive restricting the number and location of drop boxes was “arbitrary and unreasonable,” and lacked legal backing.

The Ohio Democratic Party had filed a lawsuit against LaRose over this his directive that prohibited counties from adding secure drop boxes anywhere but the election board.

In response, the Ohio Republican Party accuses the Ohio Democratic Party of colluding with Judge Frye.

“The role of a judge is to be impartial, yet the judge in question parroted his party’s talking points in his ruling,” a press release from ORP said. “The law was clear in stating the legality of having one ballot drop box per county. The judge’s interpretation of this law due to his partisan affiliation is a blatant obstruction of his judicial responsibility.”

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