I hope that all who read this are surviving the Covid-19 pandemic, physically, emotionally, and financially. We are all still under “Stay at Home” orders. Responding, no doubt, to pressure from the White House, Governor DeWine has said that Ohio will start to re-open around May 1, 2020. What that means is yet to be determined.
First an item in the category of “some things never change.” Last week former Clermont County Commissioner and former Clermont County Republican Chair David Uible was arrested yet again. Clermont County Sheriff’s Deputies were investigating a mail chaser Uible had sent out as part of his primary campaign to be the Republican nominee for our state senate seat. The chaser said that it had been paid for and authorized by the Clermont County Republican Party, which was not true. Republican Chair Greg Simpson reported the matter to the Sheriff. Deputies interviewed Uible, who denied any involvement with the chaser. Deputies also talked to the Anderson Township print shop that had prepared the chaser and learned that Uible had ordered and paid for the piece. Uible also reportedly asked the print shop to destroy its records of that job. Given a second chance to tell deputies the truth, Uible again denied any knowledge about the piece.
Uible, the state senate candidate endorsed by the Clermont County Republican Party, is already under probation for his 2019 misdemeanor conviction of tampering with official records. He is now charged with two more misdemeanors for lying to deputies in their investigation. I would have thought that, given his prior legal problems, Uible would have bent over backwards to play everything straight. Apparently, however, the Republican sense that they are above the law and the basic obligation of honesty is too strong.
While Mr. Uible’s latest exploits show that Covid-19 hasn’t changed everything, the pandemic has changed a lot of things. No one knows when we may return to some semblance of “normal” or what that “normal” will look like. My own guess is that a lot of things are never going to be the same as they were before the pandemic. One thing we know is that a lot of people have lost jobs and many businesses have closed. It seems likely that a significant number of those jobs and businesses are not coming back. Long after the health risk has been managed, people will be hurting badly. Governments will also be hurting as taxes and other revenues are expected to decrease dramatically. Tough choices are going to be made. Now, more than ever, we need leaders in Washington, Columbus, and Batavia who will put people first. In other words, we need Democrats in power now more than ever.
The pandemic converted the 2020 primary election into the first election in Ohio history in which there was no in-person voting at polling places on election day. People who didn’t vote by March 16 can only vote by requesting that the Board of Elections mail them an absentee ballot. The deadline for making that request is noon on April 25. To be counted, ballots must be mailed back to the Board with a postmark no later than April 27 or may be dropped in the box outside the Board office in Batavia by no later than 7:30 p.m. on April 28.
You might reasonably ask how a ballot not mailed until April 25 can be received by a voter, ballot completed, and returned by April 28. That’s the law but it underscores that voters should not wait until the last minute.
The only people who may vote in person are people who have a disability that prevents them from using a standard printed ballot. Those people may vote at the Board of Elections office in Batavia on April 28 between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. where there is ADA compliant equipment. No one else may vote in person and no other polling places will be open. Of course, ballots mailed in by March 16 and in-person early votes cast by then will be counted.
It has been said many times, but is worth repeating, that the November election will be the most important election in recent times. At this point, we do not know how the campaign will be conducted. The pandemic may curtail or eliminate traditional methods of campaigning such as public appearances and door-knocking.
People with much greater experience than me are working on identifying effective methods of campaigning in these conditions. One thing I think can safely be said is that informal campaigning will be important. We all need to become campaigners, getting the people in our networks out to vote and persuading them to vote for Joe Biden, Jennifer Brunner, John O’Donnell, Jamie Castle, Alan Darnowsky, Jeff Richards, and Acacia Uible.
Finally, I want to talk briefly about our reorganization meeting. Board of Elections certification of the official primary results is due by May 20, 2020. Ordinarily, that would mean that we would re-organize between May 27 and June 10. It is not anticipated that in person meetings of more than ten people will be allowed by then. ODP will be the host for virtual reorganization meetings that meet legal and Party requirements. I will be participating in a training session on this process next week and will have more information then.