DeWine Defies Judge, Calls Director of Health Department to Close Polls
COLUMBUS, Ohio — In a bizarre and unprecedented turn of events, Governor Mike DeWine has gone against a judge’s denial of the petition to postpone Ohio’s Primary Election on March 17, 2020 by having Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton order the polls closed as a health emergency.
“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. 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,” DeWine released in a statement.
Judge Richard Frye had stated that the legislature had time to change the election and did not. He denied the petition to postpone the election until June 2. DeWine had said he would appeal. A statement was sent out from DeWine and Secretary of State Frank LaRose, “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.”
This poses multiple issues as it sets a precedent. Instead of the legislature making such as decision, the governor has through the director of the Ohio Department of Health.
This is the order from Dr. Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health.
As more information becomes available, this story will be updated.