Lawmakers rush to extend overseas absentee ballots deadline


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Overseas absentee ballots could arrive up to 20 days after Ohio’s primary election and still be counted under emergency legislation working its way through General Assembly as chaos over new state legislative maps threatens spring elections.

County election officials have raised serious questions about their ability to carry out a successful primary election on May 3, citing the already tight timeline due to the still-unresolved redrawing of state legislative maps.

State law already allows a 10-day window after a primary election for the arrival of ballots cast by Ohio overseas voters, typically those serving in the military. The state Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved emergency legislation adding an additional 10 days. The House is expected to approve the measure Wednesday.

The move came after the U.S. Defense Department last week denied by a request by Ohio Elections Chief Frank LaRose to waive the March 19 deadline by which state overseas ballots must be mailed.