It's almost 8 am EST in Ohio and I haven't been to sleep yet. I'm sure there are many more of you out there, fighting to keep your eyes open before the anger pops them open like a strong shot of espresso.
We've been up and down with emotion. Here in Ohio, the primaries just went from shitty and depressing to "awww hell no".
It started when Dewine initially called off Ohio's March 17th Primary election, where Biden was set to crush Bernie, yet again. Later in the afternoon, he put back on because a Judge denied the request, citing voter suppression, but in the dead of night, it was called off again.
“We cannot tell people to stay inside, but also tell them to go out and vote,” Governor DeWine stated on Twitter.
Here's the "aha moment". Early voting had already ended when the announcement was made (around midnight on 3/17). Those early votes will be counted, so don't worry if you did. This morning, the polls were set to open at 6:30 am. They will not be opening at all today.
The entire fiasco is confusing and a nightmarish reality that is unsettling. Here are 3 text messages that came out to us, as poll workers, regarding the situation. (Today) was yesterday, 3/16/2020
It should also be noted that Governor Dewine is violating a court order by postponing the election through a public health order, issued and signed by the Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton. This move shuts down over 3,500 polling locations across the state. In a released written statement Dewine says:
“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,”
The Ohio Department of Health reported Monday the number of confirmed cases rose to 50 and it stopped reporting how many test results are pending. Ages range from 14 to 86 and include 20 females and 30 males. Fourteen patients in Ohio are hospitalized.
Ohio has now joined Georgia, Louisiana, and Kentucky, who have already suspended their primary elections due to the health and safety concerns of residents, during this pandemic. Florida (no surprise here) Arizona and Illinois will still hold elections today.
In Ohio, absentee ballots will still be collected from now until the new proposed voting date on June 2nd. To request an absentee ballot: https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/absentee-ballot/#gref
Secretary of State Frank LaRose has also committed to exploring new remedies, through the courts, to expand current voting options, so that every single voter in Ohio, who can and wants to vote, will have the option and ability to do so.
"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," DeWine said in the statement announcing the latest change. "As such, Health Director Dr. Amy Acton will order the polls closed as a health emergency. 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."
When questioned by CNN's Don Lemon how the health director could secure such an order, in spite of the judge's decision, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose denoted the "broad authority" Acton possesses as the top health administrator in the state.
"What the health director has is broad authority to protect the health of Ohioans,"
LaRose stated in an interview on "CNN Tonight."
The bottom line is this. Our Governor defied a court order to maintain the safety and health of Ohio residents, I sincerely hope that the Republican party is prepared for a Democratic move of like proportions the next time this happens. Stay tuned to W.O.K.E. Author Zone for updates on the Ohio primaries as the Coronavirus makes its way around the country.
Stay safe and remember, wash your hands and stay at home as much as you can. If you need help, to talk or just a prayer during these troubling times, please reach out to us to see how we can help you.