(CNN) — Georgia elections officials will postpone the March 24 presidential primary to May 19 because of the coronavirus, becoming the second state in the nation to delay a vote in the race for the White House due to the pandemic, according to Walter Jones, a spokesman with the Secretary of State’s office.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement Saturday that coronavirus has increased the risks to voters and poll workers with in-person voting. “Governor (Brian) Kemp has declared a public health emergency. President (Donald) Trump has declared a national emergency,” Raffensperger said. “Events are moving rapidly and my highest priority is protecting the health of our poll workers, their families, and the community at large.”
State Senator Nikema Williams, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, said that the state’s priority was to protect the “health and safety of all Georgians and to ensure that as many Georgians as possible have an opportunity to vote.”
“Georgians who have already cast their vote in person or by mail for the March 24 primary will be able to vote again in the May 19 primary for the elections already scheduled for that date. If Georgians who have already cast their vote for the March 24 primary do not vote again in the May 19 primary, their votes for the presidential preference primary will still count,” Williams said in the statement.
Louisiana on Friday became the first state to push back a presidential primary since the outbreak began in the US and as other states grapple with how to deal with the pandemic and their own upcoming elections. Earlier Friday, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said that he requested that Gov. John Bel Edwards postpone the April 4 presidential primary until June 20. He also said he would request postponing state general elections scheduled for May 9 until July 25.
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