Ohio Governor Mike DeWine just took the COVID-19 debacle out of bounds last night, announcing that, because of the current “health emergency,” the polls would not be open today and the Ohio primary would be postponed until June 2nd. His action was allegedly in response to a lawsuit from two elderly Franklin County voters who feared exposure to Coronavirus in the public voting place.

This action was immediately challenged. Per reporting in today’s (March 17, 2020) Plain Dealer:

But shortly before 7 p.m. Monday evening, Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Richard A. Frye, a Democrat, denied the request. He said he was uncomfortable making an 11th-hour decision to delay the election, especially since state officials couldn't say June would be any safer, and since many voters had expected the election would be on Tuesday.

He sided with an argument made by a longtime GOP elections attorney representing Jason Stephens, a Republican appointed to the Ohio House of Representatives last year.

''There are too many factors to balance in this unchartered territory to say that we ought to take this away from the legislature and elected statewide officials, and throw it to a Common Pleas court judge in Columbus 12 hours before the election,'' Frye said before issuing the ruling.

The back and forth continues through this morning. Again referring to reporting from the Plain Dealer:

Among those arguing against the state's request was longtime GOP elections attorney Don Brey, who was representing Stephens.

Brey said delaying the election would harm candidates who have spent money telling voters the election was March 17, and confuse voters. He made an analogy that moving the election at the request of the governor the night before the election would be like President Donald Trump asking a federal judge to delay the general election in November. [emphasis mine]

To put it at its mildest, I am PISSED. Certainly, I realize the issues and liabilities associated with the Coronavirus. I ALSO recognize my constitutional rights and the reasonable expectation I have to vote at the designated date, in line with those rights. Also note that absentee voting has already taken place, starting days before voting day. Being something of a traditionalist, I like to vote on THE DAY, unless extenuating circumstances force me to file an absentee ballot, which has happened once, perhaps 30 years ago. The matter of the precedence this sets is also of grave concern to me, particularly considering Republican Mike DeWine’s rightist leanings in a primary election which is mostly involved with Democratic candidates, as Trump is unchallenged in the Republican primary in Ohio.

Having written this, I mean to head to the Bedford Heights Community Center, our local polling place, to see if DeWine’s order has gone through. If not, I mean to vote. If so, I will absolutely register my strong discontent to anyone willing to listen … because this is WRONG, and that needs to be expressed, loud and clear, to the powers that be.

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Comment by Loren Miller on March 17, 2020 at 8:12am

Michael, that is PRECISELY my point, and why I highlighted that one section of Don Brey's remarks.

I should also mention that my polling place was indeed closed, though I very pointedly registered my discontent with a gentleman who saw me at the door and a woman who was a representative of the Board of Elections a bit later on.  Both of them agreed with me that this was badly problematic and that DeWine is exceeding his authority with this action.

Comment by Michael Penn on March 17, 2020 at 7:44am

Just wait until Trump uses this strategy to postpone the 2020 election nationwide. I expect it and this would also explain just why Media is going so wild on Coronavirus reporting right now. Yes, we have a virus loose but is this reason to abandon crowds and gatherings? Trump is a germaphobe and he doesn't seem worried. Maybe he knows something that the general public does not. We should also prepare for the next round of bailing out the rich because of this virus.



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