Despite What Trump Says, Ohio Is Postponing Its Primary Election

Photographed by Olivia Locher.
After a briefing on Monday, during which President Donald Trump was asked about unprecedented efforts to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, he said he opposes delaying primary voting in any states. Ultimately, Trump said that the decision was “unnecessary” but that it would be up to respective state leaders to determine what is the best move going forward.
On Tuesday, there were still set to be primaries in states like Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio, but local government in Arizona and Ohio have already stopped primaries in an effort to protect both poll workers and voters from spreading COVID-19. Right now, with the urgent need for social distancing and a halt on gatherings of over 10 people, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations suggest that the practice of primary voting — and any gathering of clusters of people at poll sites — may just be too risky. State officials were forced to make a monumental decision because of the current worldwide public health emergency: to postpone an election, despite the president's own input, or to keep it going.
But, due to growing concerns over how quickly the virus is spreading, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine chose to close the polls and postpone the state's primary less than 24-hours before they were supposed to start. DeWine's decision sets a massive precedent in how elections might be handled in the wake of coronavirus, directly in opposition to Trump's suggestions.
“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 an unacceptable health risk of contracting coronavirus,” DeWine said in a statement.
One of the reasons that Ohio and other states wish to postpone primary elections at the moment is because of the most at-risk populations — people who are immunocompromised and disabled, elderly people, and young people. Oftentimes, schools are used as polling sites during elections, introducing the risk of the disease, which can stay on surfaces for days.
DeWine tweeted about the three-page order closing polling locations in Ohio due to the risk of COVID-19 as well. In a following tweet, he called it "literally a matter of life and death."
Despite DeWine's original effort to postpone the election, a court judge in Ohio initially blocked the action. While the judge denied the request to move the primary to June, the Ohio Supreme Court then changed its ruling, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The primary in Ohio, once on, then off, and on again is officially not happening.  
This is all happening at the same time that other cities are beginning to face lockdowns where people are told to stay in there homes except for absolute emergency, like in the Bay Area, and widespread closures of public places in cities like New York
Currently, there are 50 people in Ohio who have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, with more cases being tested as they become available. As such, the disease could spread much too quickly to poll workers, making it urgent to take any precaution necessary to stop the exponential increase of cases in America. The CDC has warned against travel and any other activities that involve being around many people, in order to get ahead of the virus and keep the number of cases as low as possible, giving the U.S. a 15-day curve to slow the spread of the pandemic.
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