Ohio to Offer ‘Curbside Voting’ on Election Day as Coronavirus Fears Rise

NEWARK, OH - AUGUST 07: Voters head to the polls at the Licking County Family YMCA to vote in the special election for Ohio's 12th District on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 in Newark, Ohio. Voters in Ohio's 12th Congressional District are choosing between Democrat Danny O'Connor and Republican Troy Balderson …
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Update, March 16, 4:46 p.m. EST: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced on Monday that he is angling to postpone in-person voting for Tuesday’s election to June 2.

Ohio is expected to offer a “curbside” voting option for voters heading to the polls on Tuesday as fears surrounding the Wuhan coronavirus continue to rise.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued a two-part directive to the county boards of elections on Sunday. It expands the deadline for absentee ballots, requiring officials to accept absentee ballots “in the context of the ongoing public health emergency” until 3 p.m. on election day. Specifically, the expansion is for voters who were “unforeseeably confined due to concerns regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19 or are hospitalized,” per the directive.

Further, according to Cleveland.com:

It also says a pair of elections workers, one from each party, may collect and deliver absentee ballots “to an absentee voter who is hospitalized or whose minor child is hospitalized within the county.” A family member may also deliver the ballot.

LaRose’s directive also requires local officials to offer a “curbside” voting option for individuals who do not want to physically enter a polling station.

According to the directive, the option is available for “any voter that is concerned about coming inside a polling location and sends another person into the polling location to inform precinct election officials of their desire to vote.”

The state has also taken additional precautionary steps, moving dozens of polling locations from senior centers as a means to quell the spread of the virus to the elderly, many of whom remain particularly susceptible to the virus.

The changes come as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced the closure of restaurants and bars across the state. The order went into effect Sunday night.

While some states — like Louisiana and Georgia — have postponed their upcoming primary elections, Florida, Illinois, and Arizona, which also vote alongside Ohio on Tuesday, are proceeding in holding their respective primaries.


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