Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced on Thursday, April 9, that he is postponing the Statewide General Primary/Presidential Preference Primary Election until June 9, 2020.
The election was originally scheduled for May 19 but pushed back after Governor Brian Kemp extended the current public health state of emergency until May 13, 2020.
“This decision allows our office and county election officials to continue to put in place contingency plans to ensure that voting can be safe and secure when in-person voting begins and prioritizes the health and safety of voters, county election officials, and poll workers,” said Secretary Raffensperger.
Raffensperger notes that throughout this crisis, the Secretary of State’s office has been in close contact with county election officials across the state.
“Over the past week, the reports of mounting difficulties from county election officials, particularly in Southwest Georgia, grew to a point where county election officials could not overcome the challenges brought on by COVID-19 in time for in-person voting to begin on April 27,” according to an online release.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects the COVID-19 pandemic in Georgia will peak around April 24, only days before in-person voting was scheduled to begin.
“I certainly realize that every difficulty will not be completely solved by the time in-person voting begins for the June 9 election, but elections must happen even in less than ideal circumstances,” said Raffensperger. “Just like our brave healthcare workers and first responders, our county election officials and poll workers are undertaking work critical to our democracy, and they will continue to do this critical work with all the challenges that the current crisis has brought forth. This postponement allows us to provide additional protection and safety resources to county election officials, poll workers, and voters without affecting the November election.”
The voter registration deadline for the June 9, 2020 election will be May 11, 2020. Early voting will begin on May 18, 2020. Moving the primary election to June 9, 2020 will move the primary runoff to August 11, 2020.
This would give Georgia election officials additional time to put in place contingency plans to allow for safe and secure voting.
Absentee ballot applications for the upcoming primary election will continue to be accepted and processed by counties even if the application said May 19. Once county election officials properly verify the signature on the application, the voter will be sent an absentee ballot for the primary election now to be held on June 9.