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Georgia delays primaries a second time due to pandemic

First date chosen would have clashed with ongoing state emergency declaration

Georgia’s primaries are being delayed a second time amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Thursday that those contests would be moved to June 9.

The state’s presidential primaries, originally scheduled for March 24, were rescheduled to May 19, the same day as its congressional primaries. But on Wednesday, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp extended a state of emergency declaration until May 13, which, Raffensperger noted, would include most of the days for in-person voting for the May 19 contests.

“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,” Raffensperger said in a statement.

Raffensperger, a Republican, said the additional three weeks would allow his office and local officials to solidify contingency plans, secure supplies to clean voting equipment and train additional poll workers.

Kemp had previously announced that all voters would be mailed absentee ballot applications in an effort to reduce crowds at polling places. Republican state House Speaker David Ralston has opposed the effort to encourage more voting by mail, initially saying the move would hurt GOP candidates, but later clarifying that he was concerned about voter fraud, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

New Jersey also announced this week that its June 2 primaries would be postponed until July.

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