COLUMBUS- State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today issued the following statement in response to Secretary LaRose’s failure to answer a legislative inquiry into Midwest Direct and the secretary’s directive calling on county Board of Elections to complete their vote counts by November 18th at 2pm:
“The bottom line is every vote cast in the 2020 election must be counted. We know the Secretary of State can see the absentee ballot requests and the lines at early vote. Ohioans are motivated to make their voices heard in this election. They are making a plan to vote safely before Election Day. We demand that county Boards of Elections be given the time needed to ensure a complete count of votes.
“Furthermore, Ohioans are being impacted by the failure of Midwest Direct to print and mail ballots in a timely manner. This failure falls squarely on the Secretary of State who is responsible for vetting this contractor and ensuring counties have what they need to run smooth elections. Ohioans deserve to know why this vendor was allowed to ignore its duties and what steps the Secretary of State took to ensure that no voter would be left out.”
The members sent the below response letter this morning after sending an initial letter yesterday and receiving an evasive reply from Secretary LaRose.
Sent via electronic mail
October 21, 2020
Dear Secretary LaRose,
Thank you for your quick response to the letter we sent yesterday morning. Your letter, like your newsletters, did not answer our questions so we write again to ask you:
1) Please confirm that your office will not cut off the counting of ballots if a county board of elections is not finished by 2 p.m. on Novemeber 18. Any board of elections that needs more of the time granted by ORC 3505.32(A) to count ballots must not be blocked by your office from performing a complete count.
2) Please let us know when you will perform an investigation into your office’s failure to vet Midwest Direct as a competent vendor for handling Ohioans’ ballots as well as the company’s failure to meet its obligations and to communicate adequately to our county boards of elections. Election officials and voters were left in the dark because of this significant failure and lack of communication.
State Representative, District 44
Chair, House Democratic Caucus COVID-19 Elections Working Group
State Representative, District 58
Catherine D. Ingram
State Representative, District 32
Bride Rose Sweeney
State Representative, District 14