Nearly 1,300 Candidates from Both Parties Met the Legal Deadline, Court Makes Irresponsible Decision to Add Six More Democrats, Risking Election Chaos
(Columbus) - Today, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued a directive to the Ohio county boards of elections that were impacted by the Ohio Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision to allow additional Democratic candidates who did not meet the legal deadline to appear on the August 2 primary election ballot.
Oddly, the Supreme Court chose to delay their order until more than a week after voting began for military and overseas voters. Therefore, these voters from Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Montgomery, or Perry County with a ballot that is impacted by the litigation will need to receive a supplemental ballot, provided the additional Democratic candidates are certified.
Additionally, by making this decision so close to the start of early voting, the court ignored the significant steps necessary to be ready for both in-person early voting and voting by mail. The short window of time to conduct logic and accuracy testing on voting machines and proofing and printing of new absentee ballots means there is no room for error. Plainly stated, the court’s decision shows blatant disregard for the hardworking, bipartisan election officials and the voters they serve day in and day out.
In response to the court’s order, Secretary LaRose issued the following statement:
“As a veteran, I know first-hand that it’s often difficult for military members to receive and return a ballot within the window of time allowed by law. Ballots have already gone out to those Ohioans living and serving overseas, but the court’s irresponsible ruling now requires county election officials to send them new ballots to accommodate candidates who filed illegal petitions. This ignores the rule of law, sets a terrible precedent, and causes an unnecessary disservice to Ohio voters, especially those serving in our military.
“Ultimately, nearly 1,300 candidates from both parties were able to meet the deadline set in law to get on the August 2 primary ballot. And yet, in a decision the court knew could bring further chaos to an already unprecedented primary election process, concessions were made for six Democrats. It's clear by now that these four justices in the majority are either ignorant of election law and administration or indifferent to the confusion they continue to create.”
Dissenting Supreme Court Justices stated the following:
“(Ohioans are) now experiencing the chaos that has ensued from this court’s incorrect, unconstitutional, and unreasoned interpretation of the Ohio Constitution.“ – Justice Fischer
“It is not proper for the majority opinion to assume that the statutory filing deadlines move simply because the federal court set a new primary date, when the General Assembly—the only body with the authority to move the deadlines—has not done so.” – Justice Fischer
“The majority opinion undermines long-standing Ohio law to reach a desired result.” – Justice Fischer
“(The Majority opinion violated the) common-sense principle that judges—novices in election administration—should not meddle in elections at the last minute.” – Justice DeWine
Read Secretary LaRose's full directive.
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