Battle over absentee mail-in ballots heats up between FitzGerald and Husted

CLEVELAND - The battle over absentee mail-in ballots in Cuyahoga County heated up Sunday.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed expressed concern over comments made by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

Last week, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections announced a plan to mail absentee applications to all active registered voters in the county.

Husted told Ohio Public Radio he is considering prohibiting processing applications from individuals who wish to vote by mail if the county goes forward with the plan.

FitzGerald held a press conference Sunday afternoon to discuss the mail-in ballot issue.

"That comment stepped way over the line," FitzGerald said today. "The fact is, Jon Husted can't order the Board of Elections to refuse to allow citizens to vote by mail. For him to suggest that he can reates a real risk of sowing confusion among Cuyahoga County residents about this election."

"Jon Husted may not like the fact that we are offering our constituents better service by sending everyone an application to vote by mail. But that doesn't give him the right to threaten to disenfranchise our citizens and create confusion," FitzGerald said.

Husted responded Sunday with the following statement:

"Mr. FitzGerald's accusations are laughable.

"It is important that voters in all 88 counties be given equal access to a ballot and I will work to uphold that standard, even in the face of rogue actors like Mr. Fitzgerald.

Let me provide reassurance and be perfectly clear, every legal absentee ballot application received by boards of elections will be processed and a ballot will be sent."

FitzGerald stated he is in the process of forwarding a transcript of the Ohio Public Radio interview to members of the Cuyahoga County delegation to Congress. FitzGerald said the comments merit review by the U.S. Department of Justice claiming they raise questions about voters' rights and voter suppression.


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