CLEVELAND (AP) -- The county elections board in Cleveland, which is no longer mailing out unsolicited absentee-ballot applications, has asked more than 400 organizations to help get the word out to voters to cast their ballots by mail.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections on Thursday sent an online absentee-ballot application link to the community organizations, asking them to place it on their websites.
"The Board of Elections is taking steps to make it as easy as possible for voters to request and receive a ballot application," Jane Platten, the election board's director said in a release. "We have new website tools that allow voters to print personalized ballot applications or to request a ballot application to be mailed."
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has barred county election boards from mailing unsolicited absentee applications, ending a practice of several years in Cleveland, where the board struggled with long lines and other election-day problems. Husted had said in issuing his directive that he wanted all counties to follow the same procedures.
Cuyahoga County officials had threatened to defy Husted's order, but the dispute was settled this month. The state agreed to mail absentee ballot request forms to voters in all counties ahead of the 2012 presidential election, and the county's officials agreed not to send out unsolicited mailings for absentee ballots for this year's general election.
Election officials say they hope to reach thousands of voters with the new efforts. Voters without computer access may call the elections board to request an application, and absentee applications are also available at all public libraries.
"We're trying to be as creative as we can to have as wide a dispersal of the absentee ballot application as we can, without mailing them," County Executive Ed FitzGerald told The Plain Dealer (http://bit.ly/qpFkgu ).
Absentee voting has reduced polling place lines in the county. About 47 percent of the more than 416,000 Cuyahoga County residents who voted in the 2010 general election cast absentee ballots.
Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com