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128 polling locations will be moved out of nursing homes for Ohio primary

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose also suggested people vote by mail if possible, and ordered Ohio's boards of elections to make curbside drop-off available for absentee ballots on Election Day.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose discussed Tuesday how the state is making adjustments on Election Day as the concerns about the coronavirus continue.

LaRose said that 128 polling locations will be moved out of nursing homes for the March 17 primary.

He also suggested people vote by mail if possible, and ordered Ohio's boards of elections to make curbside drop-off available for absentee ballots on Election Day.


LaRose said he's working with boards of elections on best practices for cleaning voting machines and making sure elections officials have enough supplies.

On Monday, Governor Mike DeWine announced three people from Ohio tested positive for the coronavirus.

LaRose laid out the following points at a press conference at the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday, as provided by his office:

RELOCATION OF POLLING LOCATIONS WHERE SENIOR CITIZENS ARE RESIDENTS

According to public health officials, senior citizens are considered a high-risk population that is vulnerable to the Coronavirus/COVID-19. In response to ODH recommendations, Secretary LaRose has issued a directive to all county Boards of Elections to move voting locations which are currently located where senior citizens reside for the health and safety of those residents. Boards will work within their communities to find alternative voting sites. As locations are identified, our office will provide that information on our new website: VoteOhio.gov/CoronaFacts.

Counties will be working all this week to identify alternative locations. If voters have any questions, they should contact their county board of elections.

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OHIOANS SHOULD STRONGLY CONSIDER VOTING BY MAIL OR EARLY VOTING

Per the CDC, one of the greatest forms of prevention is maintaining enough physical space from other people. To vote from home, visit VoteOhio.gov and request your absentee ballot from your county board of elections as soon as possible.

It’s very important to note that the official canvass of results is not finalized until the 21st day after the election (April 7, 2020). This allows for ballots submitted by mail to be postmarked by the day before election day and received through the tenth day after the election and still be reflected in the final, official results.

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CURBSIDE DROP-OFF OF ABSENTEE BALLOTS AT COUNTY BOARDS ON ELECTION DAY

Many Ohioans will not be requesting absentee ballots until this week and could be concerned about returning their ballot in time to be counted. Further, many Ohioans may simply feel better about returning their completed ballot in person. With that in mind, county boards will allow voters to drop off their absentee ballots at their county board of elections on election day from 6:30am to 7:30pm.

Just as is the case if a voter is in line at a voting location, as long as the voter is in line by 7:30 p.m., that voter will be able to cast their vote.

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FOLLOWING RECOMMENDATIONS TO KEEP VOTING MACHINES CLEAN

Secretary LaRose has worked with the private vendors of Ohio’s voting machines to provide the manufacturer guidelines for cleaning of voting machines to prevent disease spread.

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USING HEALTH GUIDELINES TO PROTECT OHIO’S POLL WORKERS

The CDC and Ohio Department of Health have provided our office with best practices that will promote the health and safety of the patriotic poll workers Ohio needs to run our elections. While we certainly don’t want poll workers to participate if they aren’t feeling well, we are working with our county boards to ensure a healthy voting environment.

LaRose also said health professionals do not feel that working at the polls is a health risk.