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Ohio lawmakers approve all-absentee primary ending April 28

Posted: 12:32 PM, Mar 25, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-25 17:18:22-04
Eyes on 2020? Ohio GOP governor, Democratic senator mulling

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A wide-ranging pandemic relief bill extending Ohio’s primary election until April 28 unanimously passed both chambers of the state’s general assembly Wednesday.

Gov. Mike DeWine wrote in a statement that he looked forward to signing House Bill 197 when it arrived on his desk.

The bill’s many provisions include measures:

  • Moving the cutoff date for absentee primary voting by mail to April 28, effectively mandating an all-mail primary;
  • Waiving state testing requirements and school report cards for the 2019-’20 school year;
  • Moving the state tax deadline to July 15, and
  • Prohibiting water shutoffs during the pandemic.

The bill also formalizes changes already made by DeWine, Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton, and others. State licenses that would otherwise have expired during the pandemic will remain valid, and schools closed for health reasons will be allowed to use distance learning to make up for missed days of in-person instruction.

DeWine announced he would postpone Ohio's March 17 primary election due to COVID-19 concerns less than a day before it had been scheduled to take place. At the time, he set a projected date of June 2 for in-person voting.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose encouraged Ohioans who had not already voted to print an absentee ballot request form and mail it to their county board of elections.