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Statement by Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Washington, DC (April 28, 2020) –  The state of Ohio held its primary elections on Tuesday in a first-of-its-kind effort where most voters participated by mail through absentee ballots. The primary was originally scheduled on March 17, but was delayed due to threats from COVID-19. Following is a statement from Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

“Ohio provides an example of all things that can go wrong when states move to an election built largely around vote-by-mail but fail to automatically provide ballots to every voter like other vote-by-mail states. Absentee ballots should have been mailed directly to all eligible voters. Or at least, absentee ballot applications should have been automatically issued to voters along with postage-paid envelopes. Voters who did not receive an absentee ballot in time or who missed the deadline for voting absentee should have been given the opportunity to vote in person. Much work remains to be done to ensure that all states are fully addressing the barriers voters are up against as a result of COVID-19.

“In the final analysis, this election will likely have one of the lowest voter participation rates of any recent presidential primary election in Ohio. Unfortunately, contrary to the state’s motto, all things are not possible in Ohio when it comes to access to voting.”