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Another Major Primary Called Off

Ohio's health director declares health emergency
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2020 12:34 AM CDT
Updated Mar 17, 2020 6:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – Ohio's Tuesday primary has been called off despite a judge's refusal to grant a temporary restraining order. Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday night that polls would be closed under an emergency order from Health Director Amy Acton, reports the Columbus Dispatch. "During this time when we face an unprecedented public health crisis, to conduct an election tomorrow would force poll workers and voters to place themselves at an unacceptable health risk of contracting coronavirus," the Republican governor tweeted. "While the polls will be closed tomorrow, Secretary of State Frank LaRose will seek a remedy through the courts to extend voting options so that every voter who wants to vote will be granted that opportunity."

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Earlier Monday, DeWine said he didn't think the primary should be held, but Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Richard Frye rejected a call to issue a temporary restraining order, arguing that it would set a "terrible precedent," the Washington Post reports. "There are too many factors to balance in this uncharted territory," Frye said. After the judge's decision, DeWine and LaRose turned to Acton, who had the power to postpone the vote by declaring a health emergency. Ohioans "mustn’t be forced to choose between their health and exercising their constitutional rights," said DeWine. The vote is now expected to take place on June 2. Arizona, Florida, and Illinois still plan to hold their primaries Tuesday, the AP reports. (Acton estimates that at least 1% of Ohioans have been infected.)

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