Louisiana delays presidential primary over coronavirus fears

Louisiana is the first state to postpone voting because of COVID-19

Louisiana will postpone its presidential primary for about two months due to the fast-spreading coronavirus, according to the Secretary of State's office.

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During a press conference on Friday, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said the recommendation to the governor is to shift the primary, originally scheduled for April 4, to June 20.

The state has moved its primary twice in the past because of hurricanes, he noted.

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"We’re one of the few states that is supposed to have an election in early April, which we think could potentially be the height of some of this in Louisiana," a spokeswoman for the state's governor said. "Our poll workers are by large elderly, over the age of 70 and we think it is unsafe for them to be monitoring the election. We don’t think we would have enough poll workers...and we think we should be discouraging people from congregating in that way."

Ardoin's office pointed to a section of the law that allows for the "emergency suspension or delays and rescheduling" of elections because of an emergency or disaster.

As of Friday, the state had tested 94 people with 33 "presumptive" positive results for the coronavirus.

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Louisiana is the first state to postpone voting because of COVID-19.

The primary is among a slew of big events to be rescheduled, canceled or closed off to attendees because of the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this week, the NBA suspended its season indefinitely, while the NCAA canceled its March Madness tournament. The 2020 Masters golf tournament has been postponed, and the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas was also canceled.

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