In a letter responding to them, Secretary of State Frank LaRose noted that Ohio has four weeks of early voting and that Arizona, Florida and Illinois also are having their primaries on the unofficial holiday.
The Ohio Republican Party says it sought to change the election date in response to national GOP rules on awarding delegates.
Earlier story: Ohio may move its presidential primary to March 17 in 2020 to comply with new rules set by the Republican National Committee.
Embedded in the 3,000-plus page state budget bill is language to move the primary to March 17, 2020, instead of March 10. The change is being made to comply with a GOP cut off for states that want their delegates to be awarded on a winner-take all basis. States that hold primaries earlier than March 15 will award Republican delegates on a proportional basis.
The plan to bump Ohio’s presidential primary to St. Patrick’s Day in 2020 isn’t going over well with some Democrats, particularly in Cleveland where a big celebration is held on March 17, said state Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire.
“We don’t like the election day on St. Patrick’s Day,” Cera said. “I’m 24 percent Irish. It’s a holiday…Cleveland has a big St. Patrick’s Day party so some people are concerned.”
Voters are allowed to cast absentee ballots for weeks ahead of Election Day, which would keep their calendar clear for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
“We have really good early voting laws. We encourage people, if they have prior commitments, to early vote,” said Evan Machan, spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party.