Statement on Ohio Primary Elections

From: Tom Roberts, President, Ohio Conference
Subject: FW: Statement on Ohio Primary Elections

Statement on Ohio Primary Elections
Monday, March 16, 2020

Last night, Ohio’s Primary Election was postponed to protect the health and safety of Ohioans. This is an unprecedented decision for an unprecedented time. Here’s what we know:

Ohio’s voting locations are not open today for in-person voting at the direction of the Ohio Secretary of State and State Health Director. However, the county Boards of Elections will be open until 7:30pm today to receive completed absentee vote-by-mail ballots. We urge all voters who already have absentee ballots at home to take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that their votes are counted.

The Secretary of State has promised Ohioans that Election Day will be rescheduled and that voters will be able to cast an absentee ballot through June 2nd. It is worth noting, however, that further action may be required to officially change the date of Ohio’s election. While courts, the legislature, or others may weigh in on Ohio’s primary, voting rights groups are working diligently for a solution that ensures every eligible Ohio voter will have access to the ballot. Voters deserve clarity as soon as possible about when and how they will cast their ballot and we will provide further information as it becomes available.

We are extremely concerned about the way this decision rolled out. It has caused an unnecessary amount of confusion in a time we need our election systems and democracy to work for all of us. Thousands of our fellow Ohioans were ready to show up as poll workers today and put their well-being at risk to ensure that everyone could cast a ballot and we are incredibly grateful for them. We look forward to working with legislators and elected officials to ensure there is adequate contingency planning to safeguard this election and all future elections, particularly in November.

It is the responsibility of the Ohio Secretary of State to ensure a constitutionally valid election process that safeguards Ohioans’ safety, health, and right to vote.
 It is on all of us as Ohioans to come together across race, region, and background to demand solutions that modernize our elections process to ensure that each of us has an equal say in how we are governed. Ohioans know that the only way for democracy to work for all of us, is if democracy includes all of us.

We hope you are staying well and safe, if you have questions or concerns about voting in this election please call our election protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE.

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