Impacts of postponing Ohio’s primary election

Five on 2

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio’s primary election will now be held on June 2. The decision comes after Governor DeWine’s initial request to move the date was denied by a judge, leading the Ohio Department of Health to declare a health emergency and order the polls closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Director of Political Studies at Cedarville University, Dr. Mark Caleb Smith, joined 2 NEWS Tuesday to discuss the impact of this unprecedented move.

Many are asking why the Ohio Department of Health did not simply order the polls closed to begin with instead of trying to go through the court system.

“I think they wanted to go through the courts, ideally, to get other branches of government involved. If an executive like Governor DeWine simply unilaterally decided something, even if it’s with the Department of Public Health, it’s still the executive branch pushing without the legitimacy of another branch of government,” Dr. Smith said.

He goes on to say this delay could hurt candidates who are low on funds.

“You’re talking about extending the election now for a significant period of time. You’re talking about raising more money, you’re talking about continuing your communication with voters. Those kinds of things are expensive, so if you’re a challenger who’s not an incumbent, doesn’t have a lot of money to self-finance, this puts you in a very vulnerable position.”

The most recent polls showed Joe Biden at the national level with a lead over Bernie Sanders.

“Bernie Sanders does not have a lot of states coming up that appear to be all that amenable to him and to his message. We could really see the end of the presidential primary before Ohioans get a chance to weigh in on it. I think that’s actually the most likely outcome,” Dr. Smith said.

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