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LaRose Statement on Passage of House Legislation Eliminating August Special Elections

Bill is a Win-Win for Voters, Taxpayers

Today, the Ohio House of Representatives approved HB 458, legislation to eliminate August special elections. The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration. 

August special elections impose an unnecessary financial and administrative burden on our 88 county boards of elections, and because of the historically low voter turnout in August elections, they produce skewed election results that often do not reflect the will of the people. Upon bipartisan passage of HB 458, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose released the following statement: 

“August special elections generate chronically low turnout because voters aren't expecting an election to occur. This is bad news for the civic health of our state. Interest groups often manipulatively put issues on the ballot in August because they know fewer Ohioans are paying attention. As a result, the side that wins is typically the one that has a vested interest in the passage of the issue. Voters are just as capable of voting on these important issues during the standard primary and general elections.” 

In November of 2020, Ohioans set a record for voter turnout of 74%. By contrast, just a few months earlier in August of 2020, special elections were held in Hamilton and Cuyahoga Counties where voter turnout was only 11.8% and 6.8% respectively.

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