Sec. Frank LaRose has shown signs of standing his ground and resisting partisan pressure - until recently.
Election Integrity Grade
Elected - In Office Since 2019
Budget Allocation For Elections: $17,956,600
Per Capita Investment In Elections: $1.54
In Ohio, elections are overseen by the Secretary of State, a directly elected state officer who serves a four-year term. The current Secretary of State is Republican Frank LaRose; LaRose defeated Kathleen Clyde (D) in 2018, 50.7% to 47.0%. LaRose will be up for re-election in 2022.
Much of what LaRose has done in the lead up to November has been positive. He has been among the most vocal Republicans when it comes to resisting attempts to paint this election as irredeemably corrupt, and he has communicated very clearly to Ohioans on topics like absentee ballot applications and poll worker recruitment. He has a reputation of bi-partisanship.
Which is why it was quite a surprise when, on August 12, he made the inexplicable decision - based on a tortured interpretation of state law - to limit ballot drop-off boxes to one per county. This drew significant criticism from figures like Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Statements on Voter Fraud
Support for Vote By Mail
Secretary of State Frank LaRose has been consistent in pushing back on the baseless claims that this election will be "rigged" by rampant voter fraud - although in his public comments he has engaged in some calculated "both-sidesing". (B-)
Ohio has distributed a COVID-19 readiness plan to all of its county election boards, and has dedicated over $15 million of CARES Act funds to support election needs including training poll workers, relocating poll locations if needed, and PPE. (B+)
Ohio will send absentee ballot applications to every registered voter in the state - a good-faith reaction to the increased need for vote-by-mail options. However, LaRose has inexplicably limited drop-off boxes to one per county. (C-)
Ohio uses voting machines that provide a paper backup trail, but its accounting and reconciliation procedures are sub-par, according to the Center for American Progress. Other cyber-security measures in Ohio are not publicly known. (C-)
The nation-wide trend toward increased partisanship has not spared Ohio, with state level battles tearing the legislature apart at times. Gov. Mike DeWine does come from an earlier political era, though, and his edges are softer than some. (C)
No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. This has made the state an electoral prize for decades. In the 2004 election, Ohio was the focus of significant voter suppression efforts and long lines at the polls. (C)
KEY PUBLIC STATEMENTS
Clearly the Secretary of State thinks he works for Donald Trump - not even Donald Trump the president, Donald Trump the candidate. That’s troubling.
Secretary of State
President Trump and Vice President Biden have both questioned the integrity of our elections recently without citing evidence, and they both need to stop it.
Ohio Attorney General
Anything less than full confidence in the timely receipt of all timely mailed absentee ballots will rob the winners of an honest victory and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat.