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Primary will be mail-in only

COLUMBUS — Ohio has set a new, almost exclusively mail-in primary election for April 28 due to the coronavirus, ignoring the timing recommendations of the state elections chief and some voting-rights groups.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed a sweeping relief bill containing the change Friday, though he also had advocated for a different outcome.

Under the new scenario, the standard in-person primary is off and registered voters who haven’t yet cast a ballot will need to apply for an absentee ballot to vote. They can do that by printing an application form off the internet, calling their county elections board to request one or writing the necessary information on a piece of paper. Requests must be received at the board by noon on April 25, except in cases of hospitalizations.

Once a ballot is received and completed, it must be postmarked by April 27, or it can be directly delivered to the voter’s county election board on Election Day. Only those voters with disabilities or those without home mailing addresses will be allowed to vote in-person on April 28.

Ohio’s top health official ordered polls closed over concerns about the coronavirus just hours before voters were supposed to begin casting ballots March 17 in the state’s presidential primary. The ACLU, the League of Women Voters and others called April 28 an “unacceptable, unworkable” date.