Elections officials in the state of Louisiana announced on Friday that a scheduled primary for set for April 4 in the race for President would be delayed until June 20, to give the state more time to deal with any fallout from the Coronavirus threat.
"The two month delay of this election will allow our office to continue to procure necessary supplies to put our state in the best possible posture for the time when this election is conducted," said Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin.
At a news conference in the capital of Baton Rouge, Ardoin said he had certified under state law that an emergency exists, allowing the state to delay the primary for just over two months.
"This weighty decision has been made out of an absolute abundance of caution for Louisiana's voters, voting officials, and the general public as a whole," Ardoin added.
Kyle Ardoin, Louisiana’s Sec of State, announced the delay of the presidential primary election from April 4 to June 20. #lalege #lagov pic.twitter.com/Kk2QjrFKJ1— Sam Karlin (@samkarlin) March 13, 2020
Louisiana is the first state to delay any elections since the Coronavirus outbreak began in the United States.
The virus has effectively put the campaign efforts of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden on hold, as neither candidate has held a campaign rally since earlier this week.
The immediate reaction was tempered, as a top official with the Biden campaign said elections officials should instead consider a larger use of absentee ballots and voting by mail.
"Voting is at the very heart of who we are as a democracy," said Kate Bedingfield.
Louisiana has used the same emergency provision in law to delay elections before, both in 2005 and again in 2008 after major hurricanes struck the state.
Four states are scheduled to vote on Tuesday: Arizona, Ohio, Illinois and Florida.
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