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Budget Creates St. Patrick's Day Primary Over Democrats' Objections

A crowd watches a float in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Cleveland in 2010.
A crowd watches a float in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Cleveland in 2010.

The two year operating budget will move next year’s presidential primary to St. Patrick’s Day. Republicans had to move it to after March 15 so they could award all delegates to a single candidate.

Republicans aren’t expected to have a competitive presidential primary, but Democrats are. They had complained St. Patrick’s Day parades and activities could create problems in finding poll workers and make voting difficult in some areas.

Senate Finance Chair Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) said 28 days of absentee voting covers the last part.

“No, I don't," Dolan said when asked if he thinks Democrats had a point in their concerns. "If between the hours of 6:30 to 7:30 at night on St. Patrick’s Day, if you feel the festivities will keep you from a poll, you have multiple opportunities to vote. I don’t – it’s a non-issue."

Dolan notes Ohioans will vote on the same day as people in Arizona, Florida and Illinois – where Chicago hosts major St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.  

And why not move it later? Dolan said moving the primary to a week later would have made candidates’ paperwork due on Christmas Eve.

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