Ohio Primary Changes


Abby Turner, Writer

The night before the Ohio primary, the fate of the election was up in the air. With the growing threat of the coronavirus as a public health concern, many saw the need to postpone the election to ensure everyone’s safety. Multiple times throughout the night, the election was on, then off, then on again, when finally it was postponed.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine had expressed concern about the public health risk of having the primary election, but it wasn’t until the day before, Monday, March 16th, that he took action to postpone the election. Gov. DeWine said in his daily press conference that day that he would file a lawsuit in the court to postpone the election to a safer date since he does not have the power of moving an election as governor. Later that evening, a judge rejected the lawsuit over moving the election. Instead of appealing the court’s ruling during what was the middle of the night, Health Director Dr. Amy Acton ordered the polls to be closed as a public health emergency. Many wondered how Acton had the power over such a process, but Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose stated the Health Director’s power is there for a reason. The director had the power to close the polls because it posed a threat to voters’ health.

By morning, the polls were closed, but it was uncertain if those who did not vote early would still have the chance to cast their ballot. Since the poll closure was done through a public health emergency and not the courts, there was no guarantee that there would be another chance to vote on the June 2nd date Gov. DeWine had first promised. Fortunately, the Ohio legislature came to the decision to conduct an all-mail election by April 28th. This decision was criticized by voter rights groups, arguing the right to vote in person was taken away. Secretary of State LaRose acknowledged that the state could not send every registered voter an absentee ballot, and it was the citizens’ responsibility to request one on the Secretary of State website. To request an absentee ballot, one can either call their county board of elections or fill out the application online and mail it in. Once one receives and completes the absentee ballot, they can either mail it back to the county board of elections or drop it off.

While voting may not be a priority in the world of a growing pandemic, it’s important to take the time to vote in the Ohio Primary and for the Olentangy Local School District levy to ensure a bright future for our community.