Newly-signed Ohio law bars closing churches, moving elections

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio has enacted a law that bars local or state officials from closing churches or other houses of worship and that bans the changing of election dates.

The legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Mike DeWine was pushed through by Republican lawmakers in reaction to such orders as part of coronavirus containment measures. DeWine had refrained from shutting down religious institutions during the pandemic, but some other governors have restricted religious gatherings.

The new law also takes aim at DeWine’s eleventh hour decision in March to postpone the state’s in-person primary because of concerns about the coronavirus. The statute forbids moving elections other than from the “time, place and manner” spelled out in state law.

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