Friday, September 23, 2011

Cuyahoga Co.'s vote by mail campaign kicks off

They can't do a mass mailing, so they're inviting you, even urging you: ask us for a ballot!

Cuyahoga County's board of elections kicked off a drive yesterday telling residents how they can vote by mail in this November's election. They've asked 400 local institutions to put a Request a Vote By Mail Ballot Application link on their websites. The link goes to a nifty new page that lets residents create a personalized mail-in ballot application. They can download it, or have it mailed to them. They can also download a blank application.

Voters can also call pick up ballot applications at libraries or call the board to request them at (216) 443-3298.

Cuyahoga County residents got used to voting by mail between 2006 and 2010, when the county sent the applications to every voter's home. Next year, every Ohioan will get an application for the 2012 presidential election, thanks to the bargain between Ed FitzGerald and Jon Husted. But for the this November's election -- mostly a referendum on Senate Bill 5 plus some local contests -- people who want to vote by mail will have to ask for a ballot. So Cuyahoga County -- which still wants voters to vote by mail to prevent long lines at the polls -- is doing everything else it can to make it easy.

Voters in other counties can also contact their board of elections -- here's a list.

Update, 9/24: The fragile bipartisan coalition around Cuyahoga County's vote by mail effort is breaking up.

Rob Frost, county Republican chair (and congressional candidate) has resigned from the county's vote by mail task force, upset that several unions have asked the county for ballot applications. The AFL-CIO asked for 185,000. Frost thinks having the county pay to print them, when they'd be used for a political group's get out the vote efforts, would amount to an end run around FitzGerald's deal with Husted. See today's Tipoff here. Update, 9/26: FitzGerald and others on the task force tell Tipoff that the unions are printing their own applications.

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