State Reps. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) and Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) responded to Secretary LaRose’s announcement that he is requesting additional permission from the state Controlling Board to pay return postage for voting materials. The deadline for submitting such requests was Monday, Aug. 17 for the Board’s Aug. 24 meeting. No request from LaRose’s office appears yet on the Controlling Board’s website. It is unclear whether the late request will be added to the meeting agenda or what specifically is being requested.
“This is getting to be like Lucy and Charlie Brown with the football. How many times is the secretary going to yank the football away and how many times are we going to take him at his word again? I don’t know if we are where we are because of GOP infighting or GOP collusion between the secretary and the fractured legislative majority but, either way, it’s everyday Ohioans who stand to lose,” said Rep. Hicks-Hudson.
“Democrats have been calling for months for LaRose to pay return postage. He was granted this spending power for the federal relief funds on June 15. Whatever happens at Monday’s Controlling Board meeting, our position has not changed. Pay the postage for Ohio voters – for both applications and ballots.”
For months, Democrats have urged LaRose to use existing authority to pay return postage for both ballot applications and ballots, a move they say is critically important as more Ohioans turn to mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Democrats will support whatever is needed to ensure return postage is paid for Ohio voters’ applications and ballots and I will be very grateful if it gets done. We will remain optimistic that this is a sincere effort by the secretary and not an attempt at passing the buck, foot-dragging, and delay as the clock ticks toward voting,” Rep. Sweeney said. “However, we are watching vigilantly for pre-scripted plays out of the standard GOP voter suppression playbook. It is not a good sign that the secretary did not request the approval he claims to need by the Controlling Board’s deadline of three days ago.”
The Democratic caucus raised their concerns with the secretary on Tuesday, providing him with a 16-point checklist. None of the 16 items have been addressed.