128 Ohio Polling Places Moved To Protect Seniors From Coronavirus Exposure
Thousands of Ohio voters will have to go to a new place to cast their ballots in the St. Patrick’s Day primary. The state is moving 128 polling places out of nursing homes and senior residential facilities because of concerns about spreading coronavirus to residents. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.
With a week to go before the primary, Secretary of State Frank LaRose says boards of elections will be able to move these polling places following the announcement of the first positive coronavirus cases in Ohio.
“We don’t want to overreact; we want to react smartly.”
It’s not a lot of time, so Jen Miller with the League of Women Voters of Ohio says she’ll encourage early voting to those thousands of affected voters.
“Clearly it would be great to have more time, but how do we provide more time in this situation?”
Mailings are going out to voters whose polling places are being moved. They can request a ballot by mail before Saturday – but it has to be postmarked on Monday or dropped off at the board of elections on Tuesday. People who live in those facilities are affected too.
“Those residents expected that they were going to vote on election day, that they were just going to walk down to the community space in their facility and they were going to cast their vote.”
Franklin County Board of Elections Director Ed Leonard says they’re working with the facilities to make sure those residents will be able to vote.
And LaRose also says he directed boards of elections to start communicating a message to an estimated 35,000 poll workers.
“It will be a safe environment on election day. It is safe to be a poll worker.”
But he’s also trying to recruit new poll workers to replace ones who no longer want to work. And he says because so many of the 3,658 polling places are at schools, it’s impractical to move them, but schools could close if they’re concerned.