UPDATE: Governor Mike DeWine has now stated, “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, 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.”
UPDATE: Following a judge's ruling rejecting a laysuit to delay the primary election, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Frank LaRose stated in a press release, “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.”
UPDATE: Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Frye has rejected a lawsuit to delay Tuesday's primary in Ohio. The election and in-person voting will go on as scheduled. The ruling can be appealed.
Through March 15, guidance from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) indicated it would be safe to vote on election day. However, new information has led ODH to recommend Ohioans who are 65 and older to self-quarantine in their homes, making it challenging for these individuals to vote on March 17. In response, Ohio expects a lawsuit that postpones the March 17 election and shifts it to a new day. Because the authority to shift election day does not reside with the Ohio Secretary of State, this change must be enacted by either a legal order or an act of the state legislature.
If ordered by the court, Secretary LaRose is prepared to implement an alternative to the March 17 election. The first presidential nominating convention is the Democratic National Convention beginning July 13. It’s essential to have enough time for Ohio to hold an election, certify the results, and allocate our delegates prior to that convention. If a judge were to order the primary election should not be held on March 17, Secretary LaRose is prepared to recommend moving election day to June 2. More details will be forthcoming.
All votes already submitted will count. It’s important that voters who have already submitted their vote by mail or in-person know that their vote will be counted.