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Coronavirus puts a kink into efforts to get college voters to the polls next Tuesday in Ohio

Posted at 5:49 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 18:36:28-04

CLEVELAND — In letting supporters know he'd be staying in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination Senator Bernie Sanders acknowledged the losses over the last two weeks but also the positives within them. "We are winning the generational debate," he said from his homestate of Vermont. "While Joe Biden continues to do very well with older Americans, especially those people over 65, our campaign continues to win the vast majority of the votes of younger people."

"In order to win in the future you need to win the voters who represent the future," Sanders said. "And you must speak to the issues of concern to them."

It's those younger voters he hopes will turn out in Ohio next Tuesday for the March 17 primary. In 2016 Sanders lost to Hillary Clinton by a 56% to 43% margin carrying only 13 of the state's 88 counties but a closer look showed they were counties like Athens, Portage, Wood, Ashland and Hancock. Counties that were home to major universities with Athens, home to Ohio University, providing him with the largest margin of victory in 2016.

Many of those colleges and universities in Ohio have made the switch, in the Coronavirus atmosphere we're living in, to online classes adding yet another obstacle to the campaigns looking to court their vote.

Bernie Sanders National Co-Chair Nina Turner said it's just an obstacle they'll have to deal with leading up to Tuesday's vote.

"Our biggest concern is the impact on health and well being," Turner told News 5. "So we've got to find more creative ways to reach those voters and so certainly social media you know doing the text and also email we will have to lean on those modalities a little more."

Early voting by mail is still an option provided that the ballot is postmarked for return by March 16. Also your local Board of Elections in Ohio is open for in-person early voting from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Friday and then Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and then again on Monday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.