Multiple states have postponed their primaries due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has significantly altered the daily lives of Americans.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that no gatherings with 50 people or more take place for the next eight weeks to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The next day, the White House advised all Americans to avoid groups of more than 10 and urged older people to stay at home altogether in a set of new guidelines.
This has affected some states’ plans for their primary and caucuses. Here are the states and territories changing their plans due to coronavirus:
The Alaska Democratic Party moved its party-run primary to entirely vote-by-mail, getting rid of in-person voting.
“All in-person voting across the state originally scheduled for April 4 has been canceled in favor of a more extensive vote-by-mail process approved unanimously by the Alaska Democratic Party Executive Committee,” a Facebook post by Alaska Democrats read. The deadline to vote by mail was extended from March 24 to April 10.
The Alaska Republican Party said its Republican state convention, which is scheduled to take place from April 2 to April 4, would convene electronically.
“In light of recent announcements from Governor Mike Dunleavy, Dr. Anne Zink, and changing CDC advice about the COVID19 virus, the Alaska Republican Party State Central Committee meeting will convene electronically as scheduled on April 2,” a statement from Alaska Republicans read. “Thereafter, beginning on April 3, the State Convention will convene electronically.”
Connecticut moved its primary from April 28 to June 2.
“In coordination with other states and our Secretary of the State, and in an effort to carry out Democracy while keeping public health a top priority, I have decided to move our presidential primary to June 2nd,” Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said in a tweet.
Democratic Delaware Gov. John Carney announced that he had modified his State of Emergency Declaration to delay the state’s primary from April 28 to June 2.
“Delawareans have a basic, fundamental right to vote. Today’s order will preserve that right and allow Delawareans to vote by absentee ballot in the presidential primary on June 2,” Carney said in a statement.
Georgia moved its primary from March 24 to May 19.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said in a statement 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.”
Indiana moved its primary from May 5 to June 2.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, signed an executive order rescheduling the state’s primary election to June.
“The right of citizens to elect their leaders in a free and open election is one of the cornerstones of America. In order to balance that right with the safety of county employees, poll workers and voters, delaying Indiana’s primary election is the right move as we continue to do all we can to protect Hoosiers’ health,” Holcomb said in a statement.
Kentucky moved its primary from May 19 to June 23.
Secretary of State Michael Adams said the state’s primary election would be postponed.
“Today, Governor (Andy) Beshear and I agreed to delay the primary election originally scheduled for May 19 to June 23,” Adams said in a video posted to Twitter.
Louisiana was the first state to postpone its presidential primary. It was moved from April 4 to June 20.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, signed an executive order that would postpone the state’s upcoming elections, including its presidential primary.
“The reasons include taking into account the older age of the majority of precinct volunteers and workers, and the need to reduce public contact, and also to allow maximum participation by all voters, regardless of their age and their health conditions,” Edwards said at a news conference in New Orleans.
Maryland moved its primary from April 28 to June 2, Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said.
“While there are many valid reasons for unease and uncertainty right now, ensuring that the voices of Maryland citizens are heard shouldn’t be one of them,” Hogan, a Republican, said at a news conference.
Additionally, Hogan said the special election to the fill the congressional seat of late Rep. Elijah Cummings will be held via vote by mail only.
New York moved its primary from April 28 to June 23, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, citing coronavirus fears.
“I don’t think it’s wise to be bringing a lot of people to one location to vote,” Cuomo said during a news conference.
As of late March, New York state was the epicenter of the American coronavirus outbreak. More than 52,000 people had been confirmed to have Covid-19 across the state as of March 28, the governor said, and the state had tested 155,934 people.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, said the state would postpone its presidential primary, scheduled for March 17. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who backed DeWine’s move, said on CNN that he will seek to officially move the primary date to June 2.
Uncertainty has surrounded the status of Ohio’s primary election. First, DeWine requested that a court move the election to June because of the pandemic. A judge denied DeWine’s request. Then, the governor said Ohio Health Director Amy Acton would order the polls closed because of a health emergency.
The following morning, Ohio’s Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the poll closure by a candidate for a county judgeship.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, signed a bill to move the presidential primary election from April 28 to June 2.
“Notwithstanding Section 603 or any law of this commonwealth, the General Primary Election shall occur throughout this Commonwealth on June 2, 2020,” the bill reads.
Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez, of the New Progressive Party, signed into law a resolution moving the Democratic presidential primary from March 29 to April 26.
The resolution says the measure is “adopted with urgency in response to the outbreak in Puerto Rico of the respiratory disease caused by COVID-19 or Coronavirus” and notes several people in Puerto Rico have tested positive for Covid-19.
Charles Rodríguez, chairman of the Democratic Party of Puerto Rico, said in a statement, “Without a doubt, this is the time for preventative measures to stop the spread of the virus. But even in this crisis, both the Legislature and the Governor highlighted the democratic freedoms and rights that allow us to be a society based on the value of voting, as an expression of the will of the majority of our people.”
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, signed an executive order moving the Democratic and Republican presidential primary elections from April 28 to June 2. The order said the state board of elections would determine a “predominantly mail ballot” primary.
“The Rhode Island Department of Health shall advise the Board on any public health concerns that may arise with respect to voting practices involving person-to-person contact,” the order read.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, said he is moving the state’s primary election from May 12 to June 9.
“I truly support…the ability for all of our citizens to be able to vote and to be able to vote in a way that they’ve always voted. You know, we’ve voted in wartime and in peace and in absolute, you know, tough situations and everything. We’ve got, especially our seniors, that value, the treasure of being able to vote,” Justice said.