Ohio law on ballot box limit quietly clarified as suit ends


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A lawsuit challenging an Ohio order that had restricted counties to one ballot drop box location during November’s election quietly ended Thursday without further appeal, leaving in place court rulings that said Ohio law does not require such a limit.

The Ohio Democratic Party, which brought the suit against Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, seized on the litigation’s ending as clearing the way for multiple drop boxes in future elections.

“The law on this is clear,” David Pepper, the party chairman, said in a statement. “At the trial court and appellate levels, judges have ruled that expanded drop box locations are allowed under Ohio law.”

LaRose had said his directive was based on the most recent guidance from state lawmakers.

Curbside dropoff of ballots has been a growing trend across the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic and cutbacks at the U.S. Postal Service.

Franklin County Judge Richard Frye ordered the drop box case dismissed last week and LaRose’s office did not appeal.

That essentially left in place Frye’s initial declaration that the order was “arbitrary and unreasonable” and a subsequent appellate court decision, which stopped short of ordering LaRose to lift the order but said he had every right to under Ohio law if he would so choose.

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