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Rep. Hicks-Hudson seeks answers from Sec. LaRose on provisional voting and vote counting on Tuesday

April 24, 2020
Democratic Newsroom

COLUMBUS— State Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) sent a letter to Secretary of State Frank LaRose today seeking assurances that voters will be permitted to vote if they show up on Tuesday, April 28 and that their ballots will be counted. Mail delays are reportedly leaving a lot of Ohio voters without a vote-by-mail ballot. The deadline to request a ballot is tomorrow, Saturday, April 25, at noon.

See the letter below:

April 24, 2020

Dear Secretary LaRose,

I write with urgency about recent reports of how voting will be handled on April 28 at County Board of Elections. Mail delays mean that many people may not receive their ballot in time. Other voters might still be unaware that this election is being conducted all by mail. That means people might be showing up in person expecting to vote on Tuesday, April 28 and we need to be prepared.

Your office put out a directive last week instructing Boards of Elections to allow people to vote a regular or provisional ballot if they show up at their county board on Tuesday, April 28. Disabled voters and those without a home mailing address will be permitted to vote a regular ballot, and others are to be given a provisional ballot.

 What is confusing and troubling is an instructional poster that your office has sent to Boards of Elections to post on their doors. The poster tells voters that they may not vote a provisional ballot unless they fall into one of three categories. That does not match the instructions in your directive nor does that comply with Ohio and federal law. The law requires that everyone is to be given a provisional ballot and that ballot is to be counted so long as the voter is registered and eligible to vote in Ohio.

Secretary LaRose, we need your assurance that every voter who appears to vote on April 28 will be permitted to cast a provisional ballot at a minimum. And we need your assurance that those provisional ballots will be counted. There has been enough confusion and uncertainty during this 2020 Ohio primary. Let's complete this primary with clear instructions to election officials and voters so we can deliver a fair election result. 

Thank you for prompt attention to this matter. We will look forward to your response so we can properly assist and instruct our constituents in these final days of the primary. 

Paula Hicks-Hudson

State Representative, District 44

Chair of House Democratic Caucus COVID-19 Elections Working Group