Clinton County and Wilmington services uninterrupted; offices open but with limited public access; Ohio election day still in flux


By Tom Barr and - Gary Huffenberger - News Journal



OhioGov. Mike DeWine speaks at Monday’s news conference flanked by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, left, and Secretary of State Frank LaRose.


The Ohio Channel

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recommended that Tuesday’s in-person voting be moved to June 2.

However, because he does not have the power to make that decision, “A lawsuit will be filed to postpone the election until June 2, 2020. In the meantime, voters would still be able to request absentee ballots. It will be up to a judge to decide if the election will be postponed,” said DeWine.

Reports Monday evening were that a Franklin County judge had denied the request to change the in-person voting date/denied the lawsuit, but that an appeal was going to a District Court of Appeals or the Ohio Supreme Court Tuesday night. At presstime it appeared that the voting is on for Tuesday unless there was an overnight change.

“Ultimately it is not fair to make people pick between their health and constitutional rights,” said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. “Voters can vote by mail, and this will help us achieve the goal that people maintain their constitutional rights safely.

At a news conference held Monday afternoon at the statehouse, DeWine also declared that, “Today we will be issuing an order to close gyms, fitness centers, recreation centers, bowling alleys, indoor water parks, movie theaters, and trampoline parks across the state until further notice. This will take effect at the close of business.”

On the recommendation to change the date for in-person voting, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose added, “The health and safety of Ohioans is not negotiable.”

“I believe when we look back on this, we’ll be happy we did this,” said DeWine. “The votes that have already been cast will still be counted — and this recommendation would allow others to vote in the future.”

Both the City of Wilmington and Clinton County asked residents Monday not to go to their respective government offices at Wilmington City Hall or the Clinton County Courthouse unless really necessary.

The City of Wilmington assures residents that all city services are operating normally and there will be no interruption to safety and service response nor any interruption of city services; however, the public’s access to city facilities has now been limited due to precautionary measures taken.

“We’re all still here,” said City Administrator Marian Miller. “We’re just modifying public access” to the city building.

And “if it can wait, please be patient,” she added.

She encourages residents to email one of the following addresses if you have any questions; they are all being monitored by the City:

• mayor@wilmingtonoh.org

• HR@wilmingtonOH.org

• PublicService@wilmingtonOH.org

She said that reservations and rentals of the Moyer Community Room have been cancelled for at least two weeks.

Clinton County Municipal Court at the Wilmington Municipal Building is closed to all cases except new arrests; current court cases scheduled will be heard in April.

Meanwhile, Clinton County Commissioners on Monday declared, as a precautionary measure, a state of emergency for Clinton County, effective Monday, March 16.

In consultation with the Clinton County Health District and the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), and in support of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s executive order declaring a state of emergency for the State of Ohio, the Clinton County commissioners have determined that it is in the best interest of the county to take necessary precautions before COVID-19 cases are identified in the area to prevent the spread of the virus.

County offices do remain open during normal business hours.

“But we strongly encourage the public to conduct business by phone, mail, fax or by email. We suggest that all citizens call offices prior to visiting and to limit in-person visits to only business that is necessary to conduct at this time,” according to a news release from the Office of the County Commissioners.

“We wish to assure everyone that we have the necessary talent and resources to successfully work through this issue together,” the release added.

The release stated the county is monitoring the situation closely with daily updates, and will advise as to any changes that occur.

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OhioGov. Mike DeWine speaks at Monday’s news conference flanked by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, left, and Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/03/web1_Screenshot-459-1-5.jpgOhioGov. Mike DeWine speaks at Monday’s news conference flanked by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, left, and Secretary of State Frank LaRose. The Ohio Channel

By Tom Barr and

Gary Huffenberger

News Journal