I wanted to provide a short update on how we are adjusting and operating in light of the coronavirus crisis and the rapidly changing conditions it is causing.
For us, and we hope for you, priority one must be protecting health — of voters, volunteers, staff and the public at large. At this critical moment, we all have a responsibility to flatten the curve of the spread of this virus. At the same time, we continue to have a duty to protect the right to vote in the upcoming election and the responsibility to support our candidates, at every level, as we head into the fall campaign season.
Weighing those factors, here are several key areas we are addressing.
Almost 130 polling locations have been closed because they house vulnerable populations. Replacement locations are being identified, and we are working to contact the non-resident voters — by mail and/or phone — to inform them of their new polling places. These locations will also be posted on IWillVote.com as quickly as possible. Finally, we will send volunteers out on Primary Election Day to ensure that signs are in place at each closed polling place that inform voters where the new polling place is located.
How you can help: Encourage people to go to IWillVote.com to confirm their polling location.
Given the general worry about long lines and large-scale interactions, we are strongly encouraging people to vote early. Early in-person vote locations are generally less crowded, and absentee ballots will be counted as long as they are postmarked by Monday, March 16, or returned in person to your county board of elections by Tuesday, March 17, at 7:30 p.m.
How you can help: Encourage people to vote early — find out more at ohiodems.org/vote.
There is currently a troubling shortage of poll workers, particularly as more senior poll workers opt out. Fewer poll workers could result in long lines and other problems. To the extent younger folks are willing, we are asking them to serve as poll workers on Primary Election Day. Hundreds have already answered the call. Click here to sign up to work the polls on Primary Election Day. You’ll get to be a part of our democratic process and even earn a little extra cash.
If you encounter challenges or problems regarding voting in your community, please reach out to Voter Protection Director Gretchen Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look Out for One Another
More broadly, global health crises like the COVID-19 outbreak remind us of the importance of looking out for one another and using common sense to keep our communities safe. Besides frequently washing your hands and staying home when you’re sick, there are several actions you can take to show support to your community:
- Call your neighbors and loved ones who are at greater risk (if they are older or have pre-existing illnesses).
- Donate to your local food bank to help out folks who are experiencing food insecurity (click here to donate to the Ohio Association of Food Banks).
- If using home delivery services, tip well! If you have to discontinue a cleaning service or child care, continue to pay these service workers as you would normally, if you are financially able.
Ohio can be an example to the rest of the country of how to respond to pandemics — so let’s listen to public health experts and do our part to flatten the curve.
Ohio Democratic Party
Trump Is Fumbling the Coronavirus Response
Instead of providing solutions that would help American families, Donald Trump’s address to the nation was filled with inaccuracies, sowed confusion among Americans and failed to provide solutions to critical problems, such as insufficient testing.
Trump continues to irresponsibly downplay the danger to Americans, and he has seized on the crisis to push his own political agenda.
Even as the coronavirus spread, Trump proposed cutting funding to Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and global health programs. Trump eliminated critical staff who would have been responsible for leading the U.S. response to deadly pandemics, and the NSC’s director for medical and biodefense preparedness remains unfilled
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is backing a lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act, has failed to offer clarity on whether coronavirus testing will be classified as a guaranteed “essential health benefit” that insurers must cover, and has expanded “junk” insurance plans that don’t have to cover these benefits.
OHIO DEMS IN THE HEADLINES
Workers Need Paid Sick Leave
Ohio House Democratic lawmakers announced their support of a plan by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Senate Democrats to create a temporary federal paid sick leave program that would lessen the economic impact of a widespread coronavirus outbreak.
The Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal Family Care Act would require all employers to allow workers to accrue seven days of paid sick days and to provide an additional 14 days available immediately in the event of any public health emergency, including the current coronavirus crisis.
“Best practices, like washing hands and staying home from work if you’re sick are our first and best line of defense to contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. However, the fact remains that too many Ohioans are living paycheck-to-paycheck and simply cannot afford to stay home from work for an extended period of time,” House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes said. “That’s why we urged the governor earlier this week to release emergency funding to lessen the economic impact on working families, and why we echo that call today, urging the swift passage of emergency legislation offered by Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. This is a public health crisis as well as an economic crisis — and we need to act immediately and urgently to protect both the physical and economic health of everyday Ohioans.”
Even as we take precautions to stay healthy and safe, there are still things you can do for Ohio’s Democrats! We’re still building our Democratic Unity Squad — attend a virtual training online. It’s a great opportunity to support the cause from home.
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