MORE: >> Ohio elections officials say vote-by-mail changes everything
The task force will also study the progress of Ohio House Bill 680, which includes provisions for the upcoming election different than those planned by LaRose and calling for expansion of early voting.
The law change would eliminate in-person early voting on Saturday, Sunday and Monday before the Tuesday, Nov. 3 election, offered since 2015,
It would also end the mailing of unsolicited absentee ballot applications to all registered voters, which has been done since 2008.
Sleeth said he was “personally divided” on the prospect of going to all-mail-in elections.
Cost savings on pollworker wages would be offset by the cost of return postage, he said. Finding experienced pollworkers will be difficult, due to anticipated hesitance by veterans who stay home to avoid exposure to the new virus.
>> Small businesses need grit, creativity and cash to survive coronavirus
Regardless Sleeth predicted mail-in voting “is going to be higher than we’ve ever seen.”
Voter education will be essential.
With primary absentee ballots still coming in, “I’ve still got voters thinking the (primary) election’s in June,” he said.
“The key is educating the public and trying to get everybody that wants tovote early to vote early.”
Joining LaRose and Sleeth, second vice president of the Ohio Association of Election Officials; are the state association’s president, Michelle Wilcox, director of the Auglaize County Board of Elections; Rob Frost, the association’s immediate past president and an election board member in Cuyahoga County; and Lisa Welch, First Vice President of the Ohio Association of Election Officials and director of the Holmes County Board of Elections.
Sleeth and Wilcox are Democrats and Frost and Welch Republicans, according to the announcement. State law requires election board directors to be of the opposite party of the board chairs.
“The mission of the task force is to provide updates from the field on the challenges and needs of our county boards of elections to administer a safe, secure, and accessible election in the fall, and how the state can help support their efforts,” according to Tuesday’s announcement.