Lucas County Commissioners release statement on drop box ruling

Election 2020 | Jaden Jefferson

Editor’s note: The following is a news release from the office of the Lucas County Commissioners.

TOLEDO, OH — The Lucas County Commissioners are extremely pleased with the decision of Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Richard Frye to give local board of elections the flexibility to determine the number ballot drop boxes that are necessary and suitable for their counties.

“This is a victory for voting rights in Lucas County and the State of Ohio,” said Tina Skeldon Wozniak, President of the Lucas County Commissioners, said. “We have nearly 430,000 residents in Lucas County, including many who want the right to vote and will want to have the opportunity to deliver their ballot in person. We are excited that Lucas County residents will have more accessibility and flexibility to participate in the November election.”

The Lucas County Commissioners and the City of Toledo last week jointly filed a motion asking to file an Amicus Brief in the lawsuit filed by the Ohio Democratic Party and Lewis Goldfarb against Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. The brief argues that, under state law, county boards of elections, not the State of Ohio, are authorized to determine how many ballot drop boxes are needed to safeguard a person’s right to vote, and that Secretary LaRose exceeded his authority by issuing a directive that limited County Boards of Elections to just one drop box per county.

“We gladly joined the lawsuit with our partners in Toledo to make sure that everyone who is eligible to vote has the chance to do so in the safest, secure way,” Commissioner Pete Gerken said. “We will work with the Lucas County Board of Elections to take the necessary steps to secure off-site ballot box locations throughout the county for residents to deliver their ballots in person. I call on our Board of Elections to meet immediately and confirm that we will have ballot boxes throughout Lucas County.”

Commissioner Gary L. Byers said: “The decision of Judge Frye is consistence with other court rulings and Ohio election law in supporting the fundamental rights of all citizens to vote. This is a common sense, logical way to ensure that the completed ballots of voters will be counted in the election. With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the delay in the delivery of mail, this is one way to ensure ballots will get to the Board of Elections.”