Kentucky Joins Louisiana and Georgia in Postponing Primary Elections, Ohio Bid to Delay Fails

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael G. Adams announced the postponement of the state's presidential primary elections today as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus. Originally scheduled to take place in May, the primaries are now expected to take place in June.

With that announcement, Kentucky became the third state to officially postpone the presidential primaries, along with Louisiana and Georgia.

Tuesday morning, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced the postponement of the presidential primary elections in his state, pushing those back until June.

"Postponing the primary was not an easy decision, but the Republican secretary of state and Democratic governor agree and so do county clerks of both parties, and they are our front line election administrators," Adams said in a video statement Monday. "My hope is that this delay will allow us to have a normal election."

"Even if not, this delay will allow me, the state board of elections and our county clerks time to assess what changes we must make to ensure a successful primary election," Adams continued. "There could be more changes but this was a first step to buy us time and keep our citizens as safe as possible."

The May 19th primary election is delayed to June 23rd. Find out why here:

— KY SOS Michael Adams (@KYSecState) March 16, 2020

Louisiana announced the delay of its primary Friday after Governor John Bel Edwards signed an executive order of postponement.

"The reasons include taking into account the older age of the majority of precinct volunteers and workers and the need to reduce public contact," Edwards said during a Friday news conference, "and also to allow maximum participation by all voters regardless of their age and their health conditions."

Originally scheduled for March, Georgia's presidential primaries were also rescheduled until May. "Events are moving rapidly and my highest priority is protecting the health of our poll workers and the community at large," Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffesperger said Saturday.

voting, primaries
Kentucky became the third state to delay its presidential primary elections on Monday. Getty

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recommended delaying his state's primary, scheduled for Tuesday, until June 2020. DeWine filed a lawsuit to that effect since he does not have the power to postpone the election himself.

"We don't know who coming through the line has been infected," DeWine said at a Monday news conference. "We should not force people to make this choice, a choice between their health and their constitutional rights and their duties as American citizens."

However, DeWine's lawsuit was rejected by an Ohio judge citing the fact that absentee voting had been open in Ohio since February, according to reporting from WCMH.

Newsweek reached out to DeWine's office for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

At approximately 10:15 ET, DeWine announced on Twitter that though the election would not be delayed, the polls would be closed on Tuesday, due to the coronavirus.

"During this time when we face an unprecedented public health crisis, to conduct an election tomorrow would force poll workers and voters to place themselves at an unacceptable health risk of contracting coronavirus," DeWine wrote. "As such,@DrAmyActon will order the polls closed as a health emergency. While the polls will be closed tomorrow, Secretary of State@FrankLaRose will seek a remedy through the courts to extend voting options so that every voter who wants to vote will be granted that opportunity."

Other states scheduled to hold their primaries Tuesday, including Florida, Illinois and Arizona, are expected to hold their primaries in the usual fashion.

"Americans have participated in elections during challenging times in the past, 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," read a joint statement released on Friday from the secretaries of state of Florida, Illinois and Arizona.

President Donald Trump said in a news conference Monday that he doesn't think elections should be postponed, although he would "leave that up to the states."

"It's a big thing, postponing an election," Trump said. "I think postponing elections is not a very good thing. They have lots of room at a lot of the electoral places and I think they will do it very well. But I think postponing is unnecessary."

Update 3/16/20, 10:15 p.m.: This article has been updated to include the announcement from Gov. DeWine that the polls in Ohio will be closed.

Update 3/17/20, 11:35 a.m.: This article has been updated to include information about the postponement of elections in Maryland.