Voting Rights Groups Urge Secretary of State Frank LaRose to Include Further Provisions in Election Officials Manual to Increase Access to the Ballot

CLEVELAND — Today, three key organizations of the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition and the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition – All Voting is Local, ACLU of Ohio, and League of Women Voters of Ohio – submitted comments for the Election Officials Manual (EOM), urging to ensure voting policies that increase access to the ballot so that all Ohio voters can make their voices heard. 

“We are committed to ensuring that every eligible Ohio voter is able to cast their ballot and look forward to working with you in the future to ensure reliable, secure, and well-run elections,” the groups said in their letter to Secretary of State Frank LaRose. “We base our comments on years of working directly with voters, poll workers, poll monitors, Boards of Elections (BOEs), and diverse stakeholders.”

The manual serves to outline critical policies and practices for how local election boards run elections. The groups commended the secretary of state’s office for additions to the manual, such as the addition of mandatory guidelines for the outsourcing of required mailings and asking local election boards to adopt a policy to widen their communications reach by additionally posting to their websites and social media accounts. 

The groups further urged the office to adopt proposed changes on election administration plans, polling location changes, mailing of absentee ballots, signature matching, absentee in-person line maintenance, inclusion of incarcerated voters, tracking ballots, curbside voting, and more. The proposed recommendations include allowing voters to use printouts of utility bills, bank statements, government checks, paychecks, or other government documents as forms of ID to vote; including a provision to the EOM to ensure eligible voters who are confined in jails, workhouses, or other incarcerative settings can obtain a provisional ballot; and making other reforms and additions that could prevent barriers to the ballot and make voting accessible for Ohio voters.

The full letter can be found here.