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A federal judge ruled Thursday that Ohio's county board of elections will be able to offer off-site drop boxes for absentee ballots, just over three weeks before the Nov. 3 election.
U.S. District Judge Dan Polster blocked Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose's order, which had prevented off-site drop boxes, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. The state is expected to appeal the decision.
Democrats and voting rights advocates were requesting there be more dropbox locations, as absentee ballot requests were predicted to be much higher than previous years given the COVID-19 outbreak.
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Judge Polster, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, reportedly ruled that limiting counties to one dropbox location had a "disproportionate effect on people of color" and placed a "significant burden" on their voting rights.
"While it may be said that the 7,903 registered voters in Noble County may find a single dropbox location sufficient, the record demonstrates that the 858,041 registered voters in Cuyahoga County will likely not," Polster wrote in his decision.
"The secretary is continuing to restrict boards from implementing off-site collection, and he appears to be doing so in an arbitrary manner," he added.
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Polster's order would allow boards to vote to add additional drop boxes, so long as they followed certain protocols to keep them secure, according to The Inquirer.
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