Georgia to postpone presidential primary amid coronavirus outbreak

Georgia election officials postponed the state’s presidential primary election scheduled for March 24 due to concerns of over the coronavirus, the Georgia Secretary of State first announced Saturday. 

Election officials are moving the primary to May 19, and early voting for the primary will resume again shortly before the new voting date. 

“Events are moving rapidly and my highest priority is protecting the health of our poll workers, their families, and the community at large,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement to The Hill.

The move comes as Louisiana on Friday became the first state to postpone their primary due to concerns over the virus, pushing their contest from April 4 to June 20. 

Georgia currently has 66 confirmed cases of the virus and one death, according to Johns Hopkins’ Center for Systems Science and Engineering. However, according to health officials, cases will continue to pop up before they decrease. 

Election officials fear that the outbreak could put voters at risk and potentially lessen turnout as Americans are urged by government officials to practice “social isolation.”

“Given these circumstances, I believe it is necessary and prudent to suspend in-person voting in the Presidential Preference Primary, and the local elections associated with them, and resume in-person voting for those elections as part of the already scheduled May 19 General Primary,” Raffensperger said.

It’s unclear how many more states will follow in the coming days or weeks.

On Tuesday, four states host their primaries: Arizona, Florida, Ohio and Illinois. And three other states — Alaska, Hawaii and Wyoming — are set to hold their votes in early April.

New York and Maryland — both states whose governors have issued states of emergency due to the outbreak — are also among the states scheduled to host primaries in April.

The move means candidates have nearly a month longer to win over Georgia’s 105 delegates.

In previous polls, former Vice President Joe Biden has garnered nearly double the support of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Peach State. 

Tags Bernie Sanders Joe Biden

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