Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose freezes Cuyahoga County Board of Elections’ plan for library ballot sites

Updated: Sep. 15, 2020 at 5:27 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose halted a plan from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to collect absentee ballots at local libraries this fall.

In a statement from his office, he writes:

“Whether we like it or not, this question is still being resolved in the courts. We’re concerned that the Cuyahoga board doing this before this issue is resolved in the courts would cause voter confusion. In light of that, we have ordered the board to cease implementation for now.”

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections voted on Monday to allow six library branches to be designated as sites for residents to return early 2020 presidential ballots.

Board members voted unanimously on the plan that will place “politically balanced teams” at the six library branches throughout Cuyahoga County, beginning Oct. 13 from noon to 6 p.m. on select days.

  • Tuesdays: Oct. 13, 20, 27
  • Thursdays: Oct. 15, 22, 29
  • Saturdays: Oct. 17, 24, 31

Voters will be able to return completed ballots and submit vote-by-mail applications at the designated library branches instead of traveling to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections building in downtown Cleveland.

Cuyahoga County Libraries:

  • Fairview Park Branch – 21255 Lorain Road
  • North Royalton Branch – 5071 Wallings Road
  • South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch – 1876 S. Green Road

Cleveland Public Libraries:

  • South Brooklyn Branch – 4303 Pearl Road
  • Harvard-Lee Branch – 16918 Harvard Ave.
  • Glenville Branch – 11900 St. Clair Ave.

A temporary site will also be established at the Campus International High School, located at 3100 Chester Ave. in Cleveland, with varying hours.

“The behavior of voters has drastically changed due to health concerns surrounding the current pandemic,” said Anthony Perlatti, director of the Board of Elections.

Perlatti also said the number of ballot requests have already surpassed the total number cast by mail, indicating that people are trying to avoid travel and crowded places.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose previously ruled that each county can only have one drop box to collect absentee ballots.

This story is developing.

Return to 19 News for updates.

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