Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger answers questions about the state's new voting system at an Atlanta Press Club event on Feb. 24.

ATLANTA — Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has decided to delay the May primary until June 9 in wake of the COVID-19 outbreak across the state.

Gov. Brian Kemp’s extension of the declaration of public health emergency yesterday allowed Raffensperger to push the primary further into the summer.

With the average age of a Georgia poll worker at 70 years old, most fall into the group of individuals with the highest risk of contracting and facing serious health consequences from coronavirus.

GOP state and federal lawmakers have lobbied Raffensperger to push the already postponed primary back to as far as June 16, but Raffensperger resisted, arguing that pushing the primary back even further could have negative effects on the November general election.

Given the time needed to prepare ballots for the high-stakes Nov. 3 election, he said, the primary can not be pushed further than June 9.

“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 our voters, county elections officials, and poll workers,” he said.

In recent weeks, Raffensperger held off on calls from lawmakers to make a quick decision about pushing the primary, citing that he did not have the power to do given the end date of the declaration. Raffensperger even elected to send out absentee ballot applications to all active Georgia voters to allow them to vote in the safety of their own homes.

The new schedule is as follows:

  • The voting registration deadline will be May 11.
  • Early voting will begin May 18.
  • The primary election will be held June 9.
  • A primary run-off will be held August 11.

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