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ATLANTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Georgia’s Secretary of State is moving the state’s primary elections back again.
According to a news release, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that he is postponing the Statewide General Primary/Presidential Preference Primary Election until June 9th.
According to Jeanetta Watson, with Macon-Bibb County’s Board of Elections, this new date is for all elections in Georgia, including Macon-Bibb’s mayoral race.
“Due to the Governor’s extension of the state of emergency through a time period that includes almost every day of in-person voting for an election on May 19, and after careful consideration, I am now comfortable exercising the authority vested in me by Georgia law to postpone the primary election until June 9,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “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 Raffensperger.
The release goes on to say that the Secretary of State’s office has been in close contact with county election officials across the state throughout the pandemic. Over the last week, county election officials have been reporting difficulties, particularly in Southwest Georgia, that they could not overcome in time time for in person voting on April 27th.
The release also says that current models from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation project the COVID-19 pandemic will peak in Georgia around April 24th, only days before in-person voting was scheduled to begin. While challenges certainly remain on June 9th, these three additional weeks will give the Secretary of State’s office and counties time to shore up contingency plans, find and train additional poll workers, and procure supplies and equipment necessary to clean equipment and protect poll workers.
“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,”said Raffensperger
The release goes on to say that the voter registration deadline for the June 9th election will be May 11th. Early voting will begin on Monday, May 18th. Moving the primary election to June 9th will move the primary runoff to August 11th.
Absentee ballot applications for the upcoming primary election will continue to be accepted and processed by counties even if the application said May 19th. Once county election officials properly verify the signature on the application, the voter will be sent an absentee ballot for the new primary election on June 9th.