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Lawmakers preview final weekend of Early Voting

Make final call for chief elections official to address major concerns
October 30, 2020
Democrat Newsroom

COLUMBUS— State Representatives Paula Hicks-Hudson (D - Toledo), Catherine D. Ingram (D-Cincinnati), Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown), and Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) issued statements on what to expect going into the last weekend of early voting in Ohio. The members also recapped their requests of Secretary LaRose over the last several months, requests that have largely been ignored. National news outlets this week covered Ohio’s long and entirely predictable early voting lines. The Guardian reported on Columbus’s “quarter-mile lines” and the Washington Post reported on Cuyahoga County’s “extraordinary, blocks-long lines.”

The members noted the secretary’s refusal to respond to their concerns about this election:

Rep. Catherine D. Ingram (D-Cincinnati):

“We told him there would be traffic jams and there are traffic jams. We asked him to address the huge disparity in counties’ capacity for handling early voters. We’ve heard nothing back. This is an embarrassment. Ohio is being profiled once again in national press publications for our absurdly long lines and it never should have been like this. We warned this would happen and it is happening. Again. It appears to be by design. This level of enthusiasm by the voters is wonderful but it is no surprise. There’s no excuse for making voters wait in these long lines outside in the cold and rain. What year is it?”

Rep. Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown):

“The president is out here every day saying he wants to stop the vote count on the night of November 3rd – before everyone’s ballots are included. This is not normal. This is unacceptable. One justice of the US Supreme Court inappropriately and incorrectly suggested that valid ballots counted after election night could “flip” an election result. How can you flip a result before you have a result? We have been waiting over a week for Frank Larose to speak out against this kind of talk. When Secretary Larose shortened the time for Ohio counties to count all of the votes we immediately asked him to guarantee to us, representatives of the people of this state, that our counties will be allowed to complete their vote count in the time permitted by law. The media should be demanding the same.”

Rep. Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo):

“We asked Speaker Cupp to confirm that there would be no game-playing with how Ohio appoints our presidential electors. We have received no response. There are five more days of voting in this election and weeks of finalizing the official tally after November 3rd – when provisional ballots and absentee ballots will be counted under long-standing Ohio law. We are not going to let the vote counting be stopped. This is not Florida 2000. We’re not going to let a Brooks Brothers Riot exclude anybody’s voice from this election like partisan operatives did in 2000 affecting the result of the presidential election. They think they can ignore us but we won’t allow it.”

Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland):

“We are going to see long lines again this weekend in the large, diverse, wonderful counties that we represent. Not every county has these lines and that’s not fair. We fought throughout this General Assembly for better voting conditions with legislation responsive to the pandemic, amendments to bills, advocacy for the people we represent, and it fell on uninterested ears. But our constituents will not let this stop their voices from being heard.

“We encourage everyone to get out and vote. Vote early or vote on Election Day. If you still have an absentee ballot at home, get it to your county board of elections as soon as possible. You or a long list of close family members can deliver it. Voters can make a plan now and join their fellow Ohioans in voting in this historic election.”