Louisiana Postpones Democratic Primary Due to Coronavirus
Louisiana is postponing its presidential primaries, originally set for April 4, becoming the first state to take the step as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said Louisiana will now hold its presidential primaries on June 20, and will delay local municipal elections until July 25.
“We want to protect the health and safety of all Louisianans by doing our part to prevent the spread of this highly infectious disease,” Ardoin said during a news conference Friday morning.
“Safe and secure elections also mean safety to the people of Louisiana,” he added.
Louisiana’s decision is yet another reflection of the disruption the global pandemic is causing in the United States. In recent days, every major professional sports league has either pulled the plug on or postponed games, Broadway shows have temporarily closed, and scores of public events have been cancelled.
Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio, all of which are scheduled to hold primaries next Tuesday, are currently moving forward with their elections as planned.
In a joint statement, officials in the four states said they are working closely with their respective health officials to ensure that our poll workers and voters can be confident that voting is safe.
The officials are Arizona Secretary of State Kathy Hobbs, Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, Ohio Secretary of State Frank La Rose, and Illinois Election Board Chairman Charles Scholz.
“Unlike concerts, sporting events or other 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,” they said.
“Further, guidance from voting machine manufacturers on how best to sanitize machines, guidance from CDC on best practices for hand washing, and guidance from our respective state health officials is being provided to every polling location.”
They conclude: “Americans have participated in elections during challenging times in the past, and based on the best information we have from public health officials, we are confident that voters in our states can safely and securely cast their ballots in this election, and that otherwise healthy poll workers can and should carry out their patriotic duties on Tuesday.”
But it is unclear now whether any of the other states voting next month, including New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland, will follow suit.
Some election officials are already encouraging more voters to cast absentee or mail-in ballots to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
As it is, concerns over the coronavirus have caused the 2020 presidential campaigns to come to a near standstill. Both former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., have temporarily stopped appearing at large-scale, in-person rallies.
A one-on-one debate between Biden and Sanders will take place in Washington, D.C. on Sunday with no live audience. It was initially set to take place in Arizona with a crowd in attendance.
On Wednesday night, President Donald Trump canceled campaign events in Colorado, Nevada and Wisconsin.
“Out of an abundance of caution from the coronavirus outbreak, the President has decided to cancel his upcoming events in Colorado and Nevada,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
The U.S. has at least 1,268 cases of coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, and it has killed at least 33 people, according to Johns Hopkins University.
A total of 94 people had been tested for the virus in Louisiana as of Friday morning, with 33 presumptive positive results.
In response to Louisiana’s decision to postpone the primary, Biden campaign spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said “our elections can be conducted safely in consultation with public health officials.”
“If voters are feeling healthy, not exhibiting symptoms, and don’t believe they’ve been exposed to COVID-19, please vote on Tuesday,” she said in a statement. “If voters are members of an at-risk population, exhibiting symptoms, or have been exposed to a diagnosed case of COVID-19, we encourage them to explore absentee ballots and vote by mail options.”
In The News
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has been a leader in restricting offshore oil drilling since the infamous 1969 Santa Barbara... Read More
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has been a leader in restricting offshore oil drilling since the infamous 1969 Santa Barbara spill that sparked the modern environmental movement, and the latest spill off Huntington Beach is prompting fresh calls for an end to such drilling. That's easier... Read More
States will be at the helm of the $42.5 billion in block grants designated in the historic $65 billion proposed... Read More
States will be at the helm of the $42.5 billion in block grants designated in the historic $65 billion proposed for nationwide high-speed broadband within President Biden’s infrastructure bill. The broadband-related funding of the bill itself shows the federal government recognizes broadband as essential as a... Read More
Eighteen members of Congress on Wednesday announced the formation of a new Congressional Caucus whose intent is to ensure that... Read More
Eighteen members of Congress on Wednesday announced the formation of a new Congressional Caucus whose intent is to ensure that the priorities and concerns of cities and counties across America are heard on Capitol Hill. The bipartisan Congressional Caucus of Former Local Elected Officials was formed... Read More
Thirty-five states are at extreme or high risk of partisan gerrymandering, according to an in-depth report by the nonpartisan RepresentUs... Read More
Thirty-five states are at extreme or high risk of partisan gerrymandering, according to an in-depth report by the nonpartisan RepresentUs organization. The Gerrymandering Threat Index rates all 50 states, and its authors argue their findings underscore the urgent need to pass the redistricting reforms within the... Read More
WASHINGTON - A bipartisan bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program to May 31 is gaining support in the House... Read More
WASHINGTON - A bipartisan bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program to May 31 is gaining support in the House and the Senate and will likely be voted on before lawmakers head back to their districts at the end of the month. The proposal to extend... Read More
WASHINGTON - It’s hard to believe it’s almost that time of year again, but on Monday came word that the... Read More
WASHINGTON - It’s hard to believe it’s almost that time of year again, but on Monday came word that the peak bloom for the cherry blossoms ringing the Tidal Basin in Washington is currently expected to occur April 2-5. That means the most vivid of blooms... Read More