Protecting public health… and the right to vote

11 mins read

Like many of you, I’m working from home today with my family as we practice social distancing to help slow the spread of the coronavirus — and we’re doing the best we can. When I talk with reporters on the phone, my sons Jack and Charlie occasionally join the conversation, as perhaps your children are doing as well. It has fast become the new normal for those who are lucky enough to be able to work remotely.

For those of you who are at work today — the people who are caring for the sick and vulnerable, preparing and serving food, stocking our grocery store shelves, driving trucks and delivering necessities to those in quarantine, cleaning our offices and schools and keeping our communities safe — thank you for your service and sacrifice. I pray that you and your families remain safe and healthy.

Kudos also to the incredible work being done by our elected officials and public servants across the state — mayors, school board members, county leaders, council members. This is the reason we work so hard on elections every year, at every level — we need great public servants at times like these! And so many have been leading their communities in inspiring ways.

Speaking of elected officials, our Democratic leaders in the Statehouse, led by Leaders Emilia Sykes and Kenny Yuko, are ready to go the Statehouse next week to fight for broad relief as the crisis hits Ohio — through steps to minimize the spread as much as possible, shore up our health response, as well as to minimize the economic damage it is already rendering across the state. There is so much that has to be done, but our legislators are up to it.

Quick Update on the Ohio Primary

With many of us staying at home, social media has become a major way for folks to connect and share information. Unfortunately, not all of that information is always correct.

There has been a lot of misinformation surrounding our primary election and the Ohio Democratic Party’s decision to go to court to ensure those who have yet to cast their ballot are able to do so — and do so safely.

As we stated on Monday, we supported Dr. Amy Acton and Gov. Mike DeWine in their decision to close polling places this week — we had heard from across Ohio that polling locations were simply not ready to operate a safe and clean election for poll workers or voters. However, we also strongly believe that all Ohioans should still have a right to vote in the primary, and went to court Tuesday to ensure that the state has firm legal ground to extend the primary for all those who intended to vote Tuesday (something only a court or the legislature can do).

In addition, whether through the court or the legislature, we are proposing that Ohio not take the risk of scheduling another in-person primary for early June (which Secretary Frank LaRose is touting) — which defies all that we are hearing about when this crisis will end. Instead, we are advocating a broad mail-in election, giving voters the opportunity to request and vote via absentee ballot, either by mail with prepaid postage, or at a secured curbside drop off location. We also would require accommodations for those who cannot vote a paper ballot without assistance. The end of this expanded vote-by-mail election would be well earlier than June 2, which is helpful in many ways. There are simply too many uncertainties with attempting to conduct a statewide “Election Day” with in-person voting to put all our eggs in that basket. We are working across party lines to get this done.

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So despite what you hear — at this time, there is no resolution about how our primary election will be concluded, on what day and in what form. Our Ohio House and Senate Democrats will be addressing this issue and other major pieces of legislation to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. They have been talking with their colleagues across the aisle, and we have been in conversation with the governor’s office throughout.

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Whether or not the General Assembly solves this, we also will push our position in court as a backstop to ensure the primary is extended in a way that protects public health and Ohioans’ right to vote.

Still have questions? Our Voter Protection Team can help. Call our Voter Protection Hotline at 1-833-DEM-VOTE (833-336-8683) for assistance.

Getting Assistance

While democracy must go forward through thick and thin, for many, there are near-term needs that are far more pressing. Perhaps you or someone you know is dealing with food insecurity, job loss or mental health concerns. Here are a few resources you can utilize or share.

We’re all in this together.

Stay safe,

David Pepper
Chair
Ohio Democratic Party


TRUMP WATCH

Trump’s War on Affordable Care Act Hurts Coronavirus Response

Donald Trump has shown that he doesn’t value the American people’s health care or public health.

His first act as president was to sign an executive order instructing all his cabinet agencies to begin dismantling the Affordable Care Act — which celebrates its 10th anniversary next week.

As a result of Trump’s sabotage of the law, the nation’s uninsured rate has increased every year he has been in office. Ohio was one of eight states to see our uninsured rate go up in 2018. And after he failed to repeal the ACA through Congress, the Trump administration is now pushing a lawsuit to throw out the health care law.

While Congress is focused on the immediate response to the coronavirus pandemic — shoring up our health care system, protecting workers and small businesses from economic devastation and stimulating the economy — Trump must stop his war on health care by doing the following:

  • Dropping the lawsuit that threatens the health care of millions;
  • Eliminating junk plans, which undermine the ACA and don’t guarantee coverage or protections for people with pre-existing conditions;
  • Re-opening open enrollment so Americans can shop for plans and get covered;
  • Withdrawing unnecessary and burdensome Medicaid waivers, such as those that permit block grants and work requirements, that undermine coverage.

OHIO DEMS IN THE HEADLINES

Ohio Dems Call For Action On Coronavirus

House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes issued a statement following a call with Gov. Mike DeWine and the entire House Democratic Caucus. During that call, Democratic members of the House expressed their thoughts on legislative remedies to the current public health and economic crises as well as shared concerns they are hearing from local leaders and constituents in their districts.

Based on feedback from their constituents and local leaders, House Democrats have together identified more than 50 high-priority issues thus far, some requiring short-term and others requiring long-term legislative action.

“During this time of unprecedented crisis in our state, the role of the legislature is to work in tandem with the other two branches of government as well as local and federal officials to provide the most comprehensive action plan possible that helps the most Ohioans, especially the ones hardest hurt by this pandemic,” Sykes said.

The Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus outlined its legislative recommendations this week to blunt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on all Ohioans. The senators urged that the General Assembly immediately reconvene and that their recommendations be included in any legislative package that is considered over the coming weeks.

“We are working on legislation that will help Ohioans get through this time,” said Senate Democratic Leader Kenny Yuko. “We are looking forward to working across the aisle to get relief to Ohioans as soon as possible.”

UPCOMING EVENTS

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, we’re changing some of the ways we campaign — but that doesn’t mean the campaign ends. The Democratic National Committee recently added Ohio to its Battleground Build-up Program, and a new NBC News/Marist poll released this week showed both Democratic contenders leading Trump here.

In the coming weeks, Chairman David Pepper will be holding a telephone town hall with our supporters and volunteers to let you know how you can be a part of our effort to turn Ohio blue in 2020. Click here to sign up for the telephone town hall, and we’ll email you with details soon.


DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.


The people of Ohio deserve a government that supports their hard work and shares their hopes for the future. Our platform represents the Democratic vision for our State, embracing and implementing the dreams of Ohioans. We firmly defend these American beliefs, values, and traditions and are fighting hard every day to elect Democrats who have the experience and ideas to improve our state and who will hold Columbus accountable.

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