Illustration for article titled Louisiana Becomes 1st State to Postpone Primary as the Coronavirus Crisis Continues
Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty Images)

Two weeks ago, few U.S. citizens would have been able to predict the coronavirus would cause “cancel culture” to take on a literal meaning. No one would have expected the NBA to announce that its 2020 season would be suspended indefinitely, that President Donald Trump would be announcing travel bans from Europe (his affinity is normally for banning countries full of brown people from U.S. travel) or that millions of workers would be losing pay.

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Now, more fallout from the coronavirus crisis includes Louisiana becoming the first state in the nation to postpone their primary in the wake of the outbreak. According to the New York Times, Secretary of State of Louisiana R. Kyle Ardoin made the announcement during a news conference on Friday and his press secretary, Tyler Brey, confirmed it saying that the secretary had “statutory authority to say that there’s an emergency in the state and request an executive order that would postpone the election.”

According to CNBC, It has also delayed its municipal elections until July 25.

“We want to protect the health and safety of all Louisianans by doing our part to prevent the spread of this highly infectious disease,” Ardoin said.

Louisiana’s primary was scheduled for April 4, but it will be put off for over two months to June 20. Ohio, Arizona, Florida and Illinois, the next four states with scheduled primaries for March, have all indicated that they will still be having their elections on March 17, though they said they are taking necessary precautions.

“Americans have participated in elections during challenging times in the past,” said top elections officials for all four states in a joint statement released Friday. “And based on the best information we have from public health officials, we are confident that voters in our states can safely and securely cast their ballots in this election, and that otherwise, healthy poll workers can and should carry out their patriotic duties on Tuesday.

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Here’s what some state officials told CNBC reporters regarding the status of their scheduled primaries:

“The election is still on in Illinois,” said Matt Dietrich, a spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Elections.

New York Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs said “at present, there are no discussions or plans” to change the state’s primary date.

A spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office in Georgia — which holds its primary on March 24 — told CNBC that “we want to make sure this gets done right” and “we share a lot of the same concerns Louisiana has.”

Alaska Democratic Party spokeswoman Jeanne Devon told CNBC that “at this time, we have not changed plans for our last-chance in-person voting on April 4, but we are paying close attention for guidance from local health authorities.”

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Kate Bedingfield, the campaign spokesperson for Democratic front runner Joe Biden, said this in reference to Louisiana’s decision to postpone:

“Our elections can be conducted safely in consultation with public health officials. If voters are feeling healthy, not exhibiting symptoms, and don’t believe they’ve been exposed to COVID-19, please vote on Tuesday, If voters are members of an at-risk population, exhibiting symptoms, or have been exposed to a diagnosed case of COVID-19, we encourage them to explore absentee ballots and vote by mail options.”

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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