In the latest blow to the U.S. election calendar due to the coronavirus, The state of Ohio will be delaying their presidential primary originally scheduled for Tuesday (March 17).
It joins Georgia, Louisiana and Kentucky, which all postponed primaries that were supposed to be held in the coming months.
This is despite an Ohio judge having rejected a request to postpone it, amid growing concerns about the virus which has shut down schools, closed businesses and banned large gatherings across the U.S. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine made the announcement on Twitter Monday night (March 16), emphasizing the dangers of holding a primary during a public health emergency.
DeWine added that older voters and other at-risk populations wouldn't be able to vote, and noted that Ohioans shouldn't be forced to choose between their health and exercising constiutional rights, casting doubt on the legitimacy of the election.
DeWine had originally asked the state courts to postpone the primary, but after the request was denied, the state's health director intervened, ordering the polls to be shut.
The closure follows the latest U.S. task-force guidelines announced on Monday, which discouraged gatherings of more than 10 people.
Ohio will continue collecting absentee ballots and hopes to now hold their primary on June 2nd.
However, Florida, Arizona and Illinois still plan to vote as scheduled on Tuesday.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is currently leading opponent Bernie Sanders in all four states, according to public opinion polls.
They are competing for the Democratic party's nomination to face Republican President Donald Trump in the general election on November 3.