The presidential primary and special elections scheduled for March 24 are postponed until May 19 in an extraordinary move in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced the move March 14, noting that seniors appear to be at greater risk of serious effects from the COVID-19 coronavirus disease.

“Maintaining the integrity of the election depends on the talents of poll workers who are in the high-risk group because their average age is over 70,” said an announcement from Raffensperger’s office. “So concern for their health is a central consideration in this decision.”

The March 24 election was to be a statewide partisan primary for presidential nominees. In addition, DeKalb County had a special election for the sheriff’s office and Atlanta had a special election seeking to renew a 1% sales tax for water and sewer projects.

Under the new plan, those elections will combine with a previously scheduled May 19 primary election for many other offices, including Georgia General Assembly and U.S. Senate seats.

Early voting for the March 24 elections was already underway and had been continuing during the pandemic with extra cleaning efforts. Votes already submitted will count, Raffensperger said.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.