On Saturday, Georgia became the second state to postpone its primary elections amid growing concern over the spread of the Wuhan virus. Louisiana announced earlier this week that it would be moving back its primary as a result of the coronavirus. Georgia's primary, originally scheduled for March 24, will now be held on May 19.
"Events are moving rapidly and my highest priority is protecting the health of our poll workers, their families, and the community at large," Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"Our priority is to protect the health and safety of all Georgians and to ensure that as many Georgians as possible have an opportunity to vote," Nikema Williams, chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia said in a statement. "Continued in-person voting could compromise both goals."
Georgia's new date means that the presidential primary in the state will coincide with primary elections for state and local offices. While in-person early voting in Georgia has been suspended, the state's Democratic Party chair, Nikema Williams, says absentee ballots and votes that were already cast in-person for the presidential primary would still be counted.
Georgia's move follows the state of Louisiana's announcement on Friday that its primary, which was scheduled for April 4, would be moved to June 20. Municipal elections in Louisiana will now be held on July 25.
The Wuhan virus has prompted the closure of many schools across the country and the postponement of professional sports games. Some state and local governments have taken to the drastic measure of prohibiting large gatherings to combat the spread of the virus.
While Georgia and Louisiana may be playing it safe, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio are going forward with their primary elections set for Friday, March 17.