Ohio reportedly postpones presidential primary again

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The Ohio primary appears to be postponed again, according to a joint statement late Monday from Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Gov. Mike DeWine.

Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio’s health director,  planned to order polls closed across the state as a health emergency, the governor’s office announced after 10 p.m. Monday. It was the latest move in a back-and-forth between state officials.

“During this time when we face an unprecedented public health crisis, to conduct an election tomorrow would force poll workers and voters to place themselves at an unacceptable health risk of contracting coronavirus. As such, Health Director Dr. Amy Acton will order the polls closed as a health emergency,” DeWine said in a news release. “While the polls will be closed tomorrow, Secretary of State Frank LaRose will seek a remedy through the courts to extend voting options so that every voter who wants to vote will be granted that opportunity."

The primary, which was scheduled Tuesday, now is planned June 2, according to the Wood County Board of Elections.

Earlier Monday, an Ohio judge denied a late push to delay the state’s presidential primary, scheduled for Tuesday, because of coronavirus concerns.

Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Frye ruled it would set a "terrible precedent" if he were to step in 12 hours before the polls opened to rewrite the election code, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

“There are too many factors to balance in this uncharted territory to say that we ought to take it away from the legislature and elected statewide officials, and throw it to a common pleas court judge in Columbus,” Frye said.

However, DeWine and LaRose said health concerns took precedence, and Ohioans “mustn’t be forced to choose between their health and exercising their constitutional right.”

Earlier Monday, DeWine announced that voting in the Democratic presidential primary would be extended due to the concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

DeWine announced that voting will be extended through June 2 via mail.

“We cannot conduct this election tomorrow, the in-person voting for 13 hours tomorrow and conform to [CDC] guidelines,” he said at a news conference.


DeWine said he doesn't have the power to extend the election, according to a report by the Cincinnati Enquirer. However, the governor plans to make that happen by filing a lawsuit in Franklin County with individuals at risk of severe complications for COVID-19.

Ohio originally planned curbside voting

State officials originally planned to curtail the worries about spreading the virus with curbside voting on Election Day and loosened absentee voting rules for those unexpectedly hospitalized or quarantined due to coronavirus, under an order that was issued by LaRose.

Arizona, Florida and Illinois have continued all decided to move forward with elections on Tuesday despite the rapidly expanding restrictions on public life.

Fifty people have tested positive for COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in 12 counties, according to numbers released Monday afternoon. Of those, 14 were hospitalized, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Ohio is one of several states, including Georgia and Louisiana, to postpone its primary to avoid inviting voters to come out en masse when there’s a national call to limit social interactions.