COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton will order polls closed as part of a health emergency, Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday night, effectively postponing in-person voting for Tuesday’s primary election.
DeWine added Secretary of State Frank LaRose will take that time to find a way in the courts to extend the in-person voting date.
DeWine issued the following statement:
“During this time when we face an unprecedented public health crisis, to conduct an election tomorrow would would force poll workers and voters to place themselves at a unacceptable health risk of contracting coronavirus. As such, Health Director Dr. Amy Acton will order the polls closed as a health emergency. 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.”
Earlier Monday, a Franklin County Court of Common Pleas judge declined to order the postponement of Ohio’s 2020 primary election.
DeWine and LaRose issued a joint statement after the ruling. The statement says it “isn’t possible to hold an election tomorrow that will be considered legitimate by Ohioans.” The statement did not propose a clear way to prevent the election from taking place.
“The only thing more important than a free and fair election is the health and safety of Ohioans. The Ohio Department of Health and the CDC have advised against anyone gathering in groups larger than 50 people, which will occur if the election goes forward. Additionally, Ohioans over 65 and those with certain health conditions have been advised to limit their nonessential contact with others, affecting their ability to vote or serve as poll workers. Logistically, under these extraordinary circumstances, it simply isn’t possible to hold an election tomorrow that will be considered legitimate by Ohioans. They mustn’t be forced to choose between their health and exercising their constitutional rights.”