The Ohio Supreme Court wants all arguments and counterarguments filed by March 27 in a lawsuit filed by the state’s Democratic Party challenging the decision by Secretary of State Frank LaRose to move the primary election to June 2.
The Ohio Democratic Party sued Tuesday afternoon over Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s decision to set a new date, saying that power rests only with the Legislature.
The state’s top health official, Dr. Amy Acton, cited the need to contain the coronavirus pandemic in calling off the election hours before voters were supposed to cast ballots Tuesday morning.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced the decision late Monday after a judge rejected an administration-backed request that in-person voting be delayed to avoid crowding at polling places that could expose people and deter older voters. LaRose quickly ordered all county election boards to comply.
Locally, Fayette County Board of Elections Director Beth Ann Snyder thanked the poll workers for their patience and dedication during a difficult and evolving situation this week.
“I can’t say enough how proud we are of our poll workers for sticking with us and being willing and able to work despite many changes,” said Snyder. “We can’t thank them enough.”
The time has passed to vote early at the Board of Elections office. The public can still request an absentee voting application, but the local board can’t send a ballot until state finalizes its early voting plans.
The original early voting period ended on Monday at 2 p.m. According to the local board, 1,033 individuals in Fayette County voted early.
For more information on an absentee ballot request form, visit the Fayette County Board of Elections website, https://www.boe.ohio.gov/fayette/ or call the office at 740-335-1190. The office is located at 135 S. Main St. in Washington C.H.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience during this time,” said Snyder. “We also encourage everyone to stay safe.”
Only one local race is on the Republican primary ballot in Fayette County — a county commissioner race between incumbent, Tony Anderson, and challenger, Donald Fleak.
According to both Anderson and Fleak, they will continue to campaign for the election until it is officially held.
Anderson explained that he will be picking up signs in yards so mowing can take place as the weather gets warmer.
“So, I’ll have to pick up all the big signs, pick up all the little signs and probably end up buying more signs, taking out more ads,” said Anderson. “That’s the hand I’ve been dealt. It’s going to work out. It’s — I understand it’s nothing personal. The Governor made his decision. I’m all about trying to make sure people stay healthy, too. If that’s what we’re dealing with, that’s what we’re dealing with. It’s just a little wrinkle — I’m still asking for people to support me.”
When Fleak was asked about his campaign signs and if he will do anything with them as the weather warms, he explained that some of them will have to be moved and removed from fields.
“We’ll have to do some readjusting,” said Fleak.
As for campaigning, Fleak explained, “My plan is just to continue doing the same thing.”
DeWine and LaRose, a Republican, defended their action in a statement Tuesday night, saying it saved lives and will allow both absentee ballots and in-person voting.
Allowing the election would have “dangerously advanced the spread of coronavirus across Ohio,” they said in a statement. “It is abundantly clear that it would have been impossible to carry out a fair, accessible, and safe election today.”
Most people who contract COVID-19 have relatively mild symptoms, but it can be deadly for some, especially the elderly and those with underlying health problems. Most people infected with the virus recover in a matter of weeks.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.