BASED ON NEW PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDANCE, LAROSE RECOMMENDS SUSPENSION OF IN-PERSON VOTING ON MARCH 17, MOVING ELECTION DAY TO JUNE 2
March 16, 2020, COLUMBUS – Thanks to the leadership of Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), Ohio has led the nation in responding to the coronavirus crisis. Following their lead, Secretary LaRose has utilized their expert counsel and advice to execute every available option at his disposal to run a safe, secure, fair and healthy primary election. The county boards of elections and thousands of patriotic poll workers have worked tirelessly to prepare for election day and should be commended for their incredible dedication to civic duty.
Keeping Ohioans safe and voting accessible. Through March 15, guidance from the 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, we expect 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.
OUTCOME: These are certainly unprecedented times, and Secretary LaRose has implemented the guidance of the Ohio Department of Health every step of the way. As this situation has evolved, we are once again following expert consultation in order to keep Ohioans safe. If ordered, by moving Ohio’s election day we can ensure Ohio voters have every opportunity to have their voice heard and stay healthy in the process.