Pay ballot postage
Making it as easy as possible for registered voters to cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election ought to be the name of this year’s game for both Democrats and Republicans.
One means of doing that has been suggested by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
He sought state Controlling Board approval to spend $3 million to provide postage for those using mail-in absentee ballots this year. COVID-19 means there will be many of them.
Ohio already made it through one tumultuous election cycle this year. The primary election scheduled for March 17 was abruptly altered just hours before polls were set to open, as state officials declared a public health emergency and ordered polling places closed for safety reasons.
Gov. Mike DeWine and the General Assmebly then decided to conduct mail-in voting ony for the primary with all ballots due by April 28.
Ohioans, the secretary of state’s office and local boards of elections demonstrated then that Ohio is prepared and equipped to handle a large percentage of mail-in voting.
For the general election, LaRose has said polling places will be open with safeguards in place to protect both voters and poll workers. In addition to making shields and santizing stations available, LaRose is asking all voters to cover their faces when visiting the polls, which traditionally are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
Still, a large number of Buckeye State residents are expected to choose to cast their ballots by mail rather than risking exposure to the coronavirus. But Controlling Board members turned LaRose down on Monday, in a 4-2 vote.
They should reconsider — but quickly, in time for LaRose’s office to make the necessary arrangements. Providing return postage for mail-in ballots obtained and marked legally by voters would make the process more convenient, even if it only helps voters avoid standing in line to buy a stamp.
It also could avoid some delays that may affect the election.