Louisiana may become the first state in the country to postpone elections because of the threat posed by the coronavirus, its secretary of state announced Friday.
“Today I have certified that a state of emergency exists and requested that the governor issue an executive order postponing the elections this spring,” R. Kyle Ardoin said at a Friday press conference. “We have requested postponing the April 4 primary until June 20 and postponing the May 9 general election until July 25.”
Louisiana has so far reported 33 cases of the coronavirus, but as with states across the country, those figures are expected to rise dramatically in the coming weeks.
“This weighty decision has been made out of an abundance of caution for Louisiana’s voters, voting officials and the general public as a whole,” Ardoin said.
More than half of the Election Day volunteers who serve at polling places in the state are 65 or older, Ardoin said, an age range that has been disproportionately at risk for the virus.
Louisiana awards 54 pledged delegates in the Democratic presidential primary. Former Vice President Joe Biden is the clear frontrunner in the contest.
It is not the first time Louisiana has delayed elections. Similar steps were taken in 2005 after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita laid waste to much of the state, and in 2008 following Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
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