June 8, 2023
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Yesterday, an article by News 5 Cleveland revealed that local boards of election in Ohio are under extreme stress after realizing that the August special election will be underfunded in the State Senate budget. According to elections officials, being underfunded forces them to make cuts between voter education and making voters aware of the election, the number of poll workers, and more. In response, All Voting is Local Ohio State Director Kayla Griffin released the following statement:
“Election officials warned us point blank against an August special election, and they are now bearing the burden of our leaders’ actions, who forced this election on voters. Despite Secretary of State Frank LaRose previously opposing these elections, he and lawmakers decided to implement them anyway. Now local boards of election are under extreme stress, having to decide between which efforts to undertake and which to cut.”
“We are now feeling the repercussions of the collaboration ban passed in the summer of 2021 – a ban devised to completely remove civic groups, religious-based institutions, and others from working together with election officials to educate voters and get out the vote. It is at this moment that these very groups and organizations are the ones officials need to fill in the gaps where they are being forced to fall short. It is a shame that Ohio lawmakers have made this type of assistance illegal.”
Secretary of State Frank LaRose spoke out against August special elections in January, calling them ‘an unnecessary financial and administrative burden on our 88 county boards of elections’ with ‘historically low voter turnout… [that] do not reflect the will of the people.’ On May 4, 2023, the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition wrote a letter to SOS LaRose, asking him to fully and immediately fund the August special election.
Revised Code § 3501.054, also known as the collaboration ban, has barred any public official responsible for administering or conducting an election from collaborating with any nongovernmental entity on activities related to voter registration, education, poll worker recruitment, or similar election-related activities.