Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said late Monday night that his state will be postponing its presidential primaries that were slated for Tuesday due to concerns over the Wuhan coronavirus. Ohio's Department of Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton, will declare a health emergency, forcing the polls to stay closed. A new date has yet to be scheduled.
During this time when we face an unprecedented public health crisis, to conduct an election tomorrow would force poll workers and voters to place themselves at an unacceptable health risk of contracting coronavirus.— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) March 17, 2020
As such, @DrAmyActon will order the polls closed as a health emergency. While the polls will be closed tomorrow, Secretary of State @FrankLaRose will seek a remedy through the courts to extend voting options so that every voter who wants to vote will be granted that opportunity.— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) March 17, 2020
The announcement was made after Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Frye declined to reschedule the primary. According to Frye, it would set a “terrible precedent” for a judge to make that kind of call hours before an election was set to begin, The Hill reported.
Both DeWine and Secretary of State Frank LaRose cited concerns over the potential spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.
"We cannot conduct this election tomorrow, the in-person voting for 13 hours tomorrow, and conform to these guidelines," DeWine said. "We should not force them to make this choice, the choice between their health and their constitutional rights and duties."
After Judge Frye's decision was announced, DeWine took to Twitter to voice his disdain.
Joint Statement from Governor DeWine and Secretary of State @FrankLaRose:— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) March 17, 2020
The only thing more important than a free and fair election is the health and safety of Ohioans. 1/5
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. 3/5— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) March 17, 2020
Logistically, under these extraordinary circumstances, it simply isn’t possible to hold an election tomorrow that will be considered legitimate by Ohioans. 4/5— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) March 17, 2020
This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information comes in.