COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — On the tails of the announcement that more than 2 million Ohioans have requested absentee ballot for the 2020 general election, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is reiterating that voting is safe and secure in Ohio.
“The county boards of elections are going to follow this 48-point checklist that we’ve given them to make sure that is safe and secure, and so whether you chose to vote by mail or to go vote in person starting Oct. 6, it’s going to be a healthy and secure opportunity for every Ohioan,” LaRose emphasized.
President Donald Trump continues to condemn mail-in voting. Tweeting Wednesday about New York City: “Cancel Ballots and go out and VOTE, just like in past decades, when there were no problems!”
When asked about election integrity Tuesday night at the Presidential Debate in Cleveland the President casted doubt again saying: “This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party nominee, disagreed.
“His own Homeland Security director, and as well as the FBI director, says that there is no evidence at all that mail-in ballots are a source of being manipulated and cheating. They said that. The fact is that there are going to be millions of people because of COVID that are going to be voting by mail-in ballots like he does, by the way. He sits behind the Resolute Desk and sends his ballot to Florida,” Biden said.
“A solicited ballot, okay, solicited, is OK. You’re soliciting. You’re asking. They send it back. You send it back. I did that. If you have an unsolicited … they’re sending millions of ballots all over the country. There’s fraud,” Trump said.
There are just 10 states plus Washington, D.C., that automatically sends mail-in ballots to registered voters, according to NPR. Ohio is not one of them. All Ohio voters received an absentee ballot request form that had to be filled out and mailed to county boards of elections in order to receive an absentee ballot.
Biden agreed at the debate to urge his supporters to stay calm while the vote is counted and pledged not to declare victory until the election is independently certified. Trump did not.
“The fact is, I will accept it, and he will, too. You know why? Because once the winner is declared after all the ballots are counted, all the votes are counted, that’ll be the end of it. That’ll be the end of it. And if it’s me, in fact, fine. If it’s not me, I’ll support the outcome,” Biden answered.
“I want to see an honest ballot count,” Trump repeated twice in response to the same question.
When asked about Trump’s past unwillingness to agree to accept the results of the election if he does not win, LaRose again emphasized Ohio’s “fair and honest” election system.
“The peaceful transition of power is a hallmark of a functioning democracy. It’s a great part of the American tradition. Both candidates should work hard, and then, respect the results of the election,” LaRose said.
What I know is that Ohioans know that we run honest elections. They’re run by bipartisan professionals and when the final tabulation is done … the certified results, Ohioans can take that to the bank and trust that was the will of the people of Ohio. Candidates at all levels need to respect that.Frank LaRose, Ohio Secretary of State
- Sept. 18
Military and overseas absentee voting begins
- Oct. 5
Last day to register to vote
- Oct. 6
Early in-person voting beings
Absentee voting by mail begins
- Oct. 31
Noon deadline to request absentee ballot by mail
- Nov. 2
Absentee ballot postmark deadline
- Nov. 3
General Election Day
Absentee ballots can be dropped off at BOE in person
LaRose is also praising a court ruling that will not allow voters to apply for their absentee ballots online.
The ruling by an appeals court in Columbus rejected an earlier decision that might have forced LaRose to accept electronic ballot requests, especially those containing information in attachments.
LaRose said that might have opened up local election offices to a lot of problems.
“Sending thousands of JPEGs and PDFs and other unknown attachments to a board of elections is not a secure online system. That’s some sort of… like a virus nightmare from the early 2000s,” he said.
LaRose said he actually favors using online requests so long as the state legislature approves of them first and they are secure.