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Ohio Secretary of State Week in Review for the Week Ending December 10, 2021

Eliminating Unnecessary, Low-Turnout August Special Elections

This week, Republicans and Democrats came together in the Ohio House to pass HB 458, legislation to put an end to costly August special elections in the state – a win-win for voters and taxpayers. 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. For example, 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.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who worked with the Ohio Association of Election Officials, the bill sponsor Representative Thomas Hall, and other state legislators on this bill, provided testimony to the Ohio House Ways and Means Committee and released the following statement upon Thursday’s passage in the Ohio House:

“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.”

HB 458 now moves to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

Meeting With Ohio's Future Leaders

As cybersecurity and information technology become increasingly important, it’s imperative we create educational opportunities that prepare our next generation for the upcoming IT challenges they will face. As the state recognized computer science education week, high school students from Akron, Columbus and Zanesville gathered at the Ohio Statehouse. The students were recognized for winning a hackathon event hosted by TechCorps, a group that hosts high-quality K-12 computer science programs. Secretary LaRose spoke to these future IT leaders about the state-of-the-art IT and cyber initiatives pioneered at the Secretary of State’s office, encouraged them to participate in the office’s vulnerability disclosure program and discuss intern opportunities within his office. The students also shared with the Secretary the projects they worked on as part of the program.


The Secretary also hosted a group of 13 high school students from the Hawken School. The students, who are currently studying government, toured the office, asked questions to the Secretary and explored ways they can jump-start a career in public service through internship opportunities.


Additional Meetings

On Friday, Secretary LaRose held the last meeting of 2021 for the Diversity and Empowerment Council. The council was formed by the Secretary early in his administration with leaders representing the diverse communities of Ohio to facilitate greater collaboration and information sharing between the office of the Secretary of State and minority communities. Friday’s meeting centered primarily around the various outreach efforts in the minority and veteran communities related to voter information and entrepreneurship and looked ahead to opportunities in the upcoming year.


The Secretary joined members of the Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council as they gathered in Columbus for their annual holiday event. Secretary LaRose, an avid supporter of these hard-working professionals, talked with various union representatives and provided an update on his activities and objectives to the group.


In Case You Missed It


The Vindicator: Proof is clear: each vote really does matter

If you’ve ever had a doubt that every vote counts, look no further than the results of two Mahoning Valley issues in last month’s general election.

In Mahoning County’s village of Sebring, a 2-mill parks and recreation levy, which was winning on the night of the election by a single vote, ultimately ended in a tie — meaning it failed.

A recent recount determined the issue ended in a tie at 355. In Ohio, issues must receive a majority vote to pass, board of elections officials said.

Read more here.


Ashland Source: Ashland Bike Company spotlighted by Ohio Secretary of State

ASHLAND — Secretary of State Frank LaRose highlighted Ashland Bike Company on Thursday in his "Ohio Business Spotlight" for December.
The bike shop was one of eight businesses highlighted as Ohio heads into the holiday buying season.

"The eight businesses featured in this month’s Ohio Business Spotlight have taken their passion for toys, books, bikes and more, and turned them into unique and magical shops for local community members to enjoy," reads a press release from LaRose's office.

Read more here.

Media Contact

Rob Nichols
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