Georgia Delays Presidential Primaries To May

Georgia will postpone its March 24 presidential primary until May 19 following the declaration of a public health emergency by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Georgia is the second state in the United States, behind Louisiana, to delay its elections because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement by Assistant Press Secretary Anna Caroline Soldan states that all previously submitted in-person and absentee ballots will still be counted and voters who have not yet cast their ballots will be able to do so on May 19. In person early voting began on March 2. 

Voters who have already cast a ballot for the March 24 presidential primary will be able to vote in Georgia’s state and local primaries which are already scheduled for May 19, according to Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia Nekima Williams. Voters who have voted in the March 24 primary but decide not to vote in the May 19 primary for state and local positions will have their presidential preference votes counted.

Walter Jones, a communications consultant for the Georgia Secretary of State, said that in making the decision to postpone the election, the office considered the age of the average poll worker, which Jones said is over 70 years old. People above the age of 65 have been identified as individuals who face a greater risk from COVID-19, according to the head National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci.

“The integrity of the election also depends on poll workers’ experience and knowledge to run the election — they’re really what safeguards voter’s rights,” Jones said. “The average poll worker is over 70 years old and so it’s important to not put them in a position of not having to choose between dedication to their job and their personal health.”

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