A postage plan for Ohio’s mail-in ballots failed to gain approval from Republicans on a key panel in the state, a move that reportedly makes it all but impossible for ballots to get stamped in time for the November election, The Associated Press reported.
The proposal, put forward by Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, failed in a 2-4 vote as Republicans on the Controlling Board opposed approving $3 million from a special fund to cover the postage of mail-in ballots. LaRose argued that the cost was within the law, with the fund previously being used to cover the costs of voting machines, poll worker training and other election-related fees.
“A no vote today is a no vote that is over the objection of our bipartisan election officials and over my objection as the state’s chief elections officer,” LaRose said.
LaRose had called his postage funding proposal an “innovative solution” that would make “every mailbox a dropbox for millions of Ohioans.” It was a final effort to address a mail-in voting changes needed during the coronavirus pandemic, as previous election changes have stalled in the GOP-controlled state legislature earlier this year.
Republicans on the panel argued, however, it was an issue to be argued among state lawmakers and the action way beyond their authority.
The decision means Ohio voters will likely have to buy their own postage if they wish to vote by mail.
“Ohio has a sound elections system, but today was another missed opportunity by the legislature to make a small change, without an impact on our state budget, that would yield a big improvement,” LaRose said in a statement after the decision.