Louisiana becomes first state to delay primary voting because of the coronavirus
Louisiana’s Democratic presidential primary was originally scheduled for April 4. But on Friday, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, a Republican, announced that the vote will be postponed until June 20 because of coronavirus. However, officials in four other states — Arizona, Illinois, Florida and Ohio — are saying that they plan to go ahead with their March 17 primaries as scheduled.
At a news conference, Ardoin told reporters, “Today, I have certified that a state of emergency exists and requested that the governor issue an executive order postponing the elections this spring. We have requested postponing the April 4 primary election until June 20 and postponing the May 9 general election until July 25.”
Ardoin went on to say that past elections had been postponed in Louisiana because of emergencies, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Republican said, “This weighty decision has been made out of an absolute abundance of caution for Louisiana’s voters, voting officials and the general public as a whole.”
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Meanwhile, officials for Arizona, Illinois, Florida and Ohio stressed the need for caution in an official statement but made it clear that their March 17 primaries will not be canceled. In a joint statement, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Illinois Elections Board Chairman Charles Scholz said, “As each of our four states prepare for voters to head to the polls on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, we are working closely with our state health officials to ensure that our poll workers and voters can be confident that voting is safe.”
The four officials went on to say, “Unlike concerts, sporting events or mass gatherings where large groups of people travel long distances to congregate in a confined space for an extended period of time, polling locations see people from a nearby community coming into and out of the building for a short duration.”
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