It’s off: Polls will be closed today in Ohio due to health emergency

COLUMBUS — It appears the Primary Election is off today in Ohio.

At about 10:30 p.m. Monday, Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, ordered the polls closed today due t0 a health emergency.

This came after a contentious day that included Gov. Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Frank LaRose seeking to postpone the election until June 2.

The primary tug of war began around 3 p.m. when DeWine and LaRose recommended that due to COVID-19, in-person voting should be cancelled Tuesday and moved to June 2.

“We should not force (voters) to make this choice, a choice between their health and their constitutional rights and their duties as American citizens,” DeWine said at a midday news conference.

However, neither DeWine or LaRose have the power to cancel an election, so a lawsuit was filed to have in-person voting moved to June.

Approval of that request was expected in Franklin County Common Pleas Court later Monday, but Judge Richard Frye ruled against DeWine and LaRose, saying that postponing the primary would set a “terrible precedent.”

After several news releases throughout the evening, Acton pulled the plug on in-person voting.

“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,” she said. “As such, 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 coronavirus has disrupted just about every facet of Ohioans’ lives since last week, canceling schools and forcing restaurants to cease serving customers. Movie theaters and gyms were also closed Monday.

By Anthony Conchel

Morrow County Sentinel