Health chief halting Ohio’s primary; 3 others forge ahead

In this Saturday, March 14, 2020 photo, voters cast their ballots during early voting in Chicago while wearing protective gloves. Residents and poll workers took extra precautions amid concerns over the coronavirus. The Illinois state primary elections are scheduled for Tuesday, March 17. (Source: AP Photo/Noreen Nasir/AP)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s health director is ordering polls closed just hours before they were to open there and in three other states for presidential primaries.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced the decision after failing to persuade a judge to delay in-person voting because crowds at polling places Tuesday could put people at unacceptable risk of catching and spreading the virus.

DeWine’s office later confirmed Dr. Amy Acton, the state health director, had issued the order.

Officials in Arizona, Florida and Illinois felt they had done enough to ensure the safety of voters, even though there may be too few poll workers and some poll locations have changed.

Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana have postponed their scheduled primaries.

Turnout is already expected to be light as only the Democrats have a contested primary, between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

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