UPDATE: A judge in Ohio rejected Gov. Mike DeWine’s effort to postpone Tuesday’s presidential primary to June 2.
According to Cleveland,com, the judge, Richard A. Frye, said that “there are too many factors to balance in this uncharted territory to say we ought to take this away from the legislature and elected statewide officials, and throw it to a common please court judge in Columbus 12 hours before the election.”
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Three other states — Florida, Arizona and Illinois — plan to move forward with their elections on Tuesday.
PREVIOUSLY: The coronavirus now may disrupt Tuesday’s presidential contests, which many have looked as a defining moment in the race between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said that he wants in-person voting in the state’s scheduled primary on Tuesday postponed to June 2 because of the fears of the spread of the coronavirus.
“We cannot tell people to stay inside, but also to tell them to go out and vote,” DeWine said on Twitter.
He said that the votes that have already been cast, via early voting and mail-in ballots, would still be counted, but that it did not make sense given a set of new restrictions on public gatherings in the state.
DeWine does not have the authority to postpone the primary himself, but said that he would seek a court order to do so. In the wave of public closures across the country, states are looking at postponements out of concern of gatherings at polling places. Last week, Louisiana announced that it would postpone its April 4 primary by two months, and over the weekend Georgia delayed its vote to May 19, from March 24.
Ohio is among four states with primaries on Tuesday. Florida, Illinois and Arizona also are scheduled to vote. Biden has been leading in the polls, and pundits have seen the primaries as a make-or-break moment for Sanders. The three other states indicated that they plan to move forward with their vote.
But DeWine said that he was also making the recommendation to look out for poll workers.
“I believe when we look back on this, we’ll be happy we did this,” DeWine said. “The votes that have already been cast will still be counted, and this recommendation would allow others to vote in the future.”
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