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Tags: Coronavirus | ruling | ohio

Ohio Primary Rescheduled After Emergency Declaration

Ohio Primary Rescheduled After Emergency Declaration
(Dreamstime)

Monday, 16 March 2020 08:27 PM

Ohio has rescheduled its primary election scheduled for Tuesday to June 2, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday night, saying the states's health director had declared "a health emergency" in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

DeWine had argued for the primary to be postponed, but a county judge denied the request Monday night.

"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," DeWine said in a statement. "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."

Former Vice President Joe Biden is the overwhelming favorite to defeat U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in all four states, according to public opinion polls. Winning the populous states has the potential to give Biden a nearly unassailable lead over Sanders, his only viable rival and a democratic socialist.

They are vying for the party's nomination to face Republican President Donald Trump in November's election.

Ohio's Republican governor, Mike DeWine, in calling for a delay, said at-risk populations would be unable to vote. Two Ohio voters over the age of 65 filed the lawsuit seeking the delay and DeWine said the state would not oppose it.

"We should not force them to make this choice - a choice between their health and their constitutional duties as American citizens," DeWine, who lacks the power to unilaterally delay the primary, told a news conference.

On Sunday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended cancellation of gatherings of 50 or more people over the next eight weeks. U.S. task-force guidelines on Monday discouraged social gatherings of more than 10 people.

Ohio will continue to collect absentee ballots and hopes to hold the primary on June 2.

Georgia, Louisiana and Kentucky have postponed primaries that had been set for March 24, April 4 and May 19, respectively.

EARLY VOTING SURGE

Illinois' state board of elections said much of the voting for the state primary already had been done, with 504,000 early votes cast and 294,000 ballots mailed in as of Monday - a substantial increase from the day before the 2016 primary, when those numbers were 400,000 and 160,000 respectively.

Matt Dietrich, a spokesman for the board, said: "At this point, there is no date in the foreseeable future when we can expect greater safety with any certainty."

Florida, the largest state to vote on Tuesday, has also experienced a surge in early voting.

About 1.1 million Democratic ballots had been cast by mail or at early voting centers through Sunday, a state party official said. In the 2016 primary, about 890,000 Democrats voted early, representing just over half of the party's 1.7 million votes in that year's primary.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs wrote on Twitter on Monday that the state government was working to keep Election Day "safe and accessible."

Following his first one-on-one debate with Biden in Washington on Sunday - which had no studio audience to limit possible exposure to the virus - Sanders questioned the wisdom of voting on Tuesday.

"I'm thinking about some of the elderly people who are sitting behind the desks, registering people, doing all that stuff. Does that make a lot of sense? Not sure that it does," Sanders told CNN.

Prominent leaders and groups in the Democratic Party have been coalescing around Biden. On Monday, he picked up endorsements from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the International Longshoremen’s Association, a large maritime workers' union based in New Jersey.

© 2021 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Newsfront
Ohio has rescheduled its primary election scheduled for Tuesday to June 2, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday night, saying the states's health director had declared "a health emergency" in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
ruling, ohio
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2020-27-16
Monday, 16 March 2020 08:27 PM
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