Secretary of State tells Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to ‘hold off’ on plans to collect mail-in ballots at libraries

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CUYAHOGA COUNTY (WJW) — In an attempt to make voting easier for all during a time of coronavirus concerns, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections announced plans Monday to set up vote-by-mail ballot drop sites at local libraries.

Starting Oct. 13, voters can drop off their vote-by-mail ballots or applications to vote by mail, as an alternative to sending their ballots by mail or dropping them off at the Board of Elections official building downtown Cleveland. The six library drop-off locations, will be run by “politically-balanced teams,” Cuyahoga County officials said in a statement.

“The behavior of voters has drastically changed due to health concerns surrounding the current pandemic,” Anthony Perlatti, Director of the Board of Elections, said in a statement.

Officials said that already more people have requested mail-in ballots than they did during the last presidential election cycle and are preparing for the surge as best as possible.

“This tells us that people do not want to travel, and people are avoiding crowded places,” Perlatti said in a statement.

The drop-off locations are set to be open from noon to 6 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from Oct. 13-31.

The six locations are as follows:

  • Cuyahoga County Library, Fairview Park Branch – 21255 Lorain Road
  • Cuyahoga County Library, North Royalton Branch – 5071 Wallings Road
  • Cuyahoga County Library, S. Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch – 1876 S. Green Road
  • Cleveland Public library, South Brooklyn Branch – 4303 Pearl Road
  • Cleveland Public library, Harvard-Lee Branch – 16918 Harvard Avenue
  • Cleveland Public library, Glenville Branch – 11900 St. Clair Avenue

Another pop-up mail-in ballot drop-off location is being operated out of the Campus International High School parking lot, at 3100 Chester Avenue in Cleveland.

However, Ohio Secretary of State sent an email asking the board not to implement the plan until two lawsuits regarding mail-in voting are settled.

“Whether we like it or not, this question is still being resolved in the courts,” Secretary of State spokesperson Maggie Sheehan said. “We’re concerned that the Cuyahoga board doing this before this issue is resolved in the courts would cause voter confusion. In light of that, we have ordered the board to cease implementation for now.”

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