Indiana is the latest state to postpone its 2020 primary as coronavirus spreads

Eric Holcomb, governor of Indiana, in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., on Thursday, June 21, 2018.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Indiana will move its 2020 primary to June 2 from the originally planned May 2 in response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced on Friday.

“Today I’ve taken action to reschedule the election that would have been on May 5 to June 2,” Holcomb said in a briefing Friday. 

“My view on that fast-approaching primary election is it needed to be pushed back in order to again ensure the safety of our county employees, the poll workers, and the voters themselves.”

Indiana, with 82 delegates up for grabs, has become the latest state to postpone its primary because of looming threats brought on by the coronavirus, which has roiled markets and infected hundreds of thousands of people globally.

The outbreak has upended the 2020 Democratic presidential primary as former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders push to take on President Donald Trump in November. Sanders won Indiana in the 2016 primary, beating then rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The current candidates have stopped holding in-person campaign events. Sanders, who has fallen behind Biden in the race for pledged delegates, is now mulling his prospects as he considers whether to leave the race or forge ahead. 

Several states have already changed their election schedules as the coronavirus pandemic rages across the United States and paralyzes normal activity. Louisiana and Georgia delayed their planned primaries. Wyoming also canceled the in-person portion of its Democratic caucus. 

Ohio delayed its in-person primary voting that was supposed to take place Tuesday. Gov. Mike DeWine was blocked by the courts from postponing the primary, but the state’s health department intervened, issuing an order to close the polls due to health concerns brought on by the outbreak.

Arizona, Florida and Illinois moved forward with Tuesday voting but took extra precautions, emphasizing mail-in ballots and increasing sanitation at polling places. 

Rhode Island could be next. It is awaiting a decision on whether its primary will be postponed. The Rhode Island Board of Elections voted to postpone the state’s primary from April 28 to June 2, but the decision is “pending the governor signing an emergency order,” according to the board’s deputy director of elections, Miguel Nunez.

Here are the states that have postponed their primaries and their new dates:

  • Georgia (rescheduled to May 19)
  • Connecticut (rescheduled to June 2)
  • Indiana (rescheduled to June 2)
  • Ohio (rescheduled to June 2, pending approval from the courts)
  • Louisiana (rescheduled to June 20)
  • Kentucky (rescheduled to June 23)

The Democratic National Committee has so far said it will move forward with its convention in July despite the disruptions.

The coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, has spread to dozens of countries globally, with more than 245,000 confirmed cases worldwide and at least 10,031 deaths so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There are at least 14,250 cases in the United States and at least 205 deaths, according to the latest tallies. 

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