The rapid spread of COVID-19 across the United States has forced the cancellation of numerous non-essential public events, such as parades, music festivals, and theatrical performances.
But in the swing state of Ohio, even the 2020 presidential primary is facing postponement.
The Ohio Supreme Court struck down a challenge to delay the primary election, ordering that it should be allowed to continue, but Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton have ordered polls to close, regardless of the court's decision.
Dewine confirmed the decision on Twitter late Monday night.
Here is the three-page order signed tonight by @OHdeptofhealth Director @DrAmyActon that closes all polling locatio… https://t.co/FfftkTYiCN— Governor Mike DeWine (@Governor Mike DeWine) 1584413392.0
Governor DeWine said in a statement:
"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."
While COVID-19 should undoubtedly be taken seriously, and non-essential gatherings should be limited, others are concerned that such an abrupt cancellation of a primary is a violation of voting rights and DeWine's disregard for a state Supreme Court ruling is a breach of power.
Some say that the tactic amounts to voter suppression from Republicans, and that the state should have instead facilitated more absentee voting methods.
Incredible and outrageous. As I argued earlier, this is a very bad precedent. Even more disturbing is that GOP Gov.… https://t.co/LAvhcYbHZW— Larry Sabato (@Larry Sabato) 1584412540.0
Under a court order, the Ohio election is supposed to take place. @GovMikeDeWine is ignoring that order. What are… https://t.co/Gl2eVyzxPz— Fred Guttenberg (@Fred Guttenberg) 1584411874.0
@GovMikeDeWine @OPTLawyer A lot of this is unconstitutional.— T-Puppet (@T-Puppet) 1584449105.0
@LarrySabato Republicans ALWAYS play dirty and bending the rule of law is just part of their playbook. The GOP shou… https://t.co/8kRZ6jOvUd— Breaking News/Views (@Breaking News/Views) 1584413200.0
The dispute between the court and the Governor has led to confusion about the state of the election.
What Ohio governor Mike DeWine is doing right now is called "orchestrated confusion."— Ragnarok Lobster (@Ragnarok Lobster) 1584411790.0
No great answers here but Ohio is a mess. A GOP governor is trying to close polls in tomorrow's primary in potentia… https://t.co/wyF7pWVoAF— Nate Silver (@Nate Silver) 1584411654.0
This is insane, CNN is saying the Ohio primary is off tomorrow but Politico is saying it’s still on. There shouldn’… https://t.co/49wULw80SK— Sam ✍️🕖 (@Sam ✍️🕖) 1584401523.0
Ohio's Secretary of State is currently hoping to go forward with a later primary in June.