Gov. DeWine recommends Ohio postpone in-person voting until June 2

Joel Oliphint
Gov. DeWine adjusted Ohio's mass-gathering ban to 50 people to comply with new CDC guidelines.

In a press conference this afternoon, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recommended the state postpone in-person voting until June 2.

Because the governor is not legally allowed to delay voting during peacetime, DeWine said he plans to file a lawsuit this afternoon to delay in-person voting, which would have happened tomorrow, until June 2.

“We cannot tell people that they need to stay home … and at the same time tell them that they need to go vote,” DeWine said. "The rights of voters will be preserved. … The votes that have already been cast have been cast. They’re not counted, [but] they’re there. They’ll stay there, frozen. But voting for others will be continued."

"It is not fair to have them pick between their health and their constitutional rights," said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose spoke of the postponement decision as a "serious matter" and praised poll workers who have been preparing polling locations. Voters will continue to be able to vote via absentee ballot by mail. 

DeWine also said he will be issuing an order to close gyms, fitness centers, recreation centers, bowling alleys, indoor water parks, movie theaters and trampoline parks across the state until further notice. The order will take effect at the close of business today.

Also, because CDC guidelines have changed, DeWine adjusted Ohio's mass gathering ban, lowering it to include groups of more than 50 people in Ohio. (The number had previously been set at 100.)

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said there are now 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio, with an age range of 14 to 86. Of the 50, 14 are hospitalized.

Husted and DeWine also reiterated that grocery stores will remain open, despite internet-circulated rumors to the contrary.