COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As Secretary of State Frank LaRose starts laying out the next steps regarding Ohio’s primary election, Democrats are criticizing his handling of the situation.
A lawsuit filed Monday that sought to delay today’s election was unsuccessful. After a night of confusion, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton ordered the election not take place due to a public health emergency.
LaRose is now moving ahead with plans for in-person voting on June 2.
According to the Ohio Secretary of State, in-person voting will take place on June 2. Ohioans can request an absentee ballot up until May 26th. They must be postmarked no later than June 1st.
All votes already submitted by mail or in-person will count. Only those registered to vote by the primary deadline of February 18th are eligible to vote.
The Franklin County Board of Elections has begin distributing information about the June 2 election date.
House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes is calling the information released by LaRose a ‘misinformation campaign.’
Now in the hours following the chaos, he continues to send out press releases and share information on his website saying the election day has been moved to June 2nd. This is just wrong. As the governor has noted, and state law requires, only the legislature or the court has the power to set or change the election date and thus far, neither entity has done that. Yet LaRose continues to suggest people can continue to vote absentee in direct violation of state law. This too is wrong.
I strongly urge Secretary LaRose to be a good public servant and be transparent and honest with Ohioans about this election and the options they have. What has taken place in the last 24 hours sets a dangerous precedent to our democracy and his overreach must be reigned in immediately.”Emilia Strong Sykes
The Ohio Democratic Party is hoping to have an election sooner than June 2. It is calling on the Ohio General Assembly to use its legislative power to set a new election date.
The party said in statement:
“Given the chaos, confusion and mixed messages of the past 24 hours, it’s clearly impossible for in-person voting to move forward today in Ohio. However, this primary election must move forward, and Ohio Democratic legislative leaders and Ohio Democrats must be part of the negotiations over how that happens.
“Yesterday’s postponement does not create unchecked authority with the governor or secretary of state to run a new election. In fact, the dangerous precedent of postponing an election requires an immediate return to the approach provided by Ohio law. The most appropriate and lawful way to resolve this situation is for the Ohio General Assembly to act — to use their legislative power and update Ohio’s election statutes to address this emergency situation. House Democratic Leader Emilia Sykes, Senate Democratic Leader Kenny Yuko and their colleagues are ready and eager to get back to work and resolve this and other urgent issues.
“In the meantime, and if that does not occur, the Ohio Democratic Party continues to monitor legal developments and will litigate to defend voters’ right to fully participate in our state’s Democratic primary election.
“We are listening to the concerns of Democratic elected officials and voters about how this primary has been conducted to date and suggestions about how it will be resolved. We pledge to fight to ensure that every ballot that has been cast to this point will be secured and counted and that those who have not yet cast their ballot will not be disenfranchised.
“The Ohio Democratic Party strongly supports concluding the primary election earlier than June 2. Extending for that long is highly problematic for any number of reasons, and it is not at all clear that in-person voting will be possible on that date anyway.”
The Democratic party says it wants to see an expanded vote-by-mail process where absentee ballots are made available widely to those who have not yet voted. The party wants pre-paid returnpostage to be included with the ballots.
Speaker of the House Larry Householder said the House will be in session at 1 p.m. on March 24, 25 and 26.