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13 Mar, 2020 16:29

Louisiana becomes 1st state to postpone Democratic primary, delaying for 2 months due to coronavirus outbreak

Louisiana becomes 1st state to postpone Democratic primary, delaying for 2 months due to coronavirus outbreak

Louisiana has postponed its 2020 presidential primaries, initially scheduled for next month, until June 20 a spokesman for the secretary of state told CNBC, citing concerns over the coronavirus epidemic.

The state becomes the first to postpone its primaries amid worries over the virus, which has caused schools and businesses to shut down across the nation. The presidential primary was originally scheduled for April 4.

Municipal elections, scheduled for May 9, will also be postponed until July 25.

“We want to protect the health and safety of all Louisianans by doing our part to prevent the spread of this highly infectious disease,” Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin told reporters on Friday.

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The leading presidential candidates from both parties are all over 70 years of age and thus fall within the highest risk group for coronavirus, which has proven especially deadly among seniors.

While President Donald Trump, 73, is running for re-election essentially unopposed, the two leading contenders for the Democrat nomination, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, are 77 and 78, respectively.

The coronavirus has elicited calls for switching to mail-in ballots for primaries, an option that has had mixed results in states where it has been adopted. Voters in Washington exclusively mailed in their choice for the nominee for the first time, a process marred by confusion that saw tens of thousands of ballots disqualified on a technicality. Michigan offered all voters the option of mailing in ballots and was rewarded with such a deluge of absentee votes it warned primary results might not be available for several days - only to call the election for Biden the night of the primary anyway.

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