Scioto County Commissioners painted a picture of absolute chaos at the Scioto County Courthouse Monday night as the Board of Elections dealt with conflicting orders about whether or not Ohio would be holding an election today.
Commissioner Bryan Davis called it, “total chaos” as he described a scene where poll workers first set up voting machines, then took them down, only to have to put them back up.
The confusion started on Monday afternoon when Governor Mike DeWine announced plans to move the election to June 2 to slow the spread of Coronavirus. That plan had to be approved by a judge, but Monday evening a judge ruled against it. DeWine then had Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton issue an emergency order to shut the polls. The Ohio Supreme Court sided with DeWine overnight and allowed the election to be postponed.
Commissioner Mike Crabtree was furious at the decision to postpone the eleciton. “I don’t agree with one person who’s not even an elected official making a decision like they did. Currently, there’s maybe 50 cases of Coronavirus in a state of 12 million people and they took it upon themselves to cancel the election for 90 days.” He described the chaos at the courthouse on Monday night, “It was changing hourly. People were taking out machines and putting them back in. It was a yoyo match. They’ve had to move those things around. We have to pay people. It’s another example of the state costing the county money and the county doesn’t have the money to spare.”
Commissioner Cathy Coleman also condemned the chaos. “I think the way they handled it was atrocious.” She said if the state knew it was closing bars and restaurants over the weekend, the decision to close the polls could have been made then. You expect your state government to be more prepared.” Coleman expressed hope that the experience prepared the state to make better future decisions about elections.
Commissioner Davis says everything is still up in the air as far as when the election will actually be held. “The legislature needs to chime in. They need to have a strong statement. I don’t think the governor can set an election date.” He said Commissioners would have to lean heavily on the Board of Elections and the State of Ohio to let them know what’s happening next. “Every vote is valuable.”