The Delaware County Board of Commissioners has voiced its support of Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who said last week that additional ballot drop boxes would not be permitted in counties for the upcoming general election. In a letter to LaRose’s office, commissioners detailed why they believe permitting additional drop boxes could compromise the integrity of the election.
“In Ohio, the voters have 30 days to vote in person or by absentee ballot, which provides considerable flexibility,” the commissioners’ letter states. “Further, they are able to vote by mailing their absentee ballots or by depositing them in the drop boxes described above. In Delaware County, the security of our dropbox is monitored 24/7 by camera.”
The letter highlights several potential consequences of adding locations, including the potential for “ballot harvesting” and “helpers” going door to door to collect ballots and then taking them to the board of elections or added drop box locations. “Such scenarios are rife with opportunity for those who have no qualms about manipulating the voting process,” the letter states.
In addition to disingenuous handling, the letter states that with multiple locations, the cost to provide the security required for each box would be considerable.
“It would be unrealistic to believe the threshold for adequate security could be met at hundreds of additional locations,” the letter went on to state. “It is essential for all of us to know that each of our votes in the 2020 general election ensures that one person has one vote, and that this vote was cast with honesty and accurately expresses the choices of the legally registered voter.”
Prior to voting to approve the letter in the form of a resolution during Monday’s commissioners session, Commissioner Gary Merrell said, “I think this resolution very clearly states the legitimate concern boxes would have as far as ensuring a fair election.”
“We must protect the integrity of our election, and that’s what this resolution says,” Commissioner Barb Lewis added.
Commissioner Jeff Benton said of their resolution to issue a letter to LaRose, “I think it is important that we communicate to Secretary of State LaRose our significant concerns over the integrity of the election process, and the proposals that are being considered jeopardize that.”
LaRose said last Wednesday that the idea of adding additional locations is a “fine idea” to consider in the future but now is not the appropriate time.
“I hope that the legislature weighs in on this and it can be done in an equitable way,” LaRose said. “But with just under three months to go until Election Day, I don’t think that it is time to change the way we have done things here in Ohio and add new drop boxes and questions about the validity of that.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.