Updated Mar 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Democratic primaries in flux over coronavirus concerns

A vote here sign.
Photo: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger announced Saturday evening the state's presidential primaries would be rescheduled from March 24 to May 19 in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: Georgia is the second state to postpone primaries over the outbreak as officials scramble to contain the virus, which had infected more than 2,700 Americans by Saturday evening. On Friday, Louisiana moved its Democratic presidential primary from April 4 to June 20, citing concerns over the global pandemic.

The state of play: Wyoming Democratic Party chair Joe Barbuto announced that the in-person portion of the state's primary will be suspended. The party is encouraging people to vote by mail or by ballot pick-up and drop-off on March 28 and April 4.

  • "Our priority is ensuring that people are healthy and safe. Holding public events right now would put that in jeopardy, so this is the responsible course of action," Barbuto wrote in a statement.

The big picture via Axios' Margaret Talev: With cancelled rallies, debates sans audiences, contingency plans for conventions and ballot-casting: this is campaigning in the age of coronavirus.

What they're saying: Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio have announced their March 17 primaries will go on as scheduled.

"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."
statement from chief elections officials in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Ohio
"Voting is at the heart of who we are as a democracy. As election officials working with public health officials are demonstrating throughout the country, 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. 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."
Statement from Joe Biden's campaign

Editor's note: This has been updated with confirmation of Georgia's postponement.

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