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Northam delays June primaries, asks General Assembly to reschedule May elections

Posted at 2:37 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 15:14:46-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that he is delaying the June Congressional primaries and calling on the General Assembly to reschedule upcoming local special elections.

“We’re in the middle of a public health crisis. We have wrestled with our options and none of them are ideal or perfect,” said Northam.

In a press conference Wednesday, the governor said holding in person elections would put the health of voters and election workers at risk.

“Voting is a fundamental right, but no one should have to choose between protecting their health or casting a ballot,” said Northam.

Northam says he is recommending that all special elections scheduled for May 5 be moved to November 3.

“This change will require General Assembly action when lawmakers return to session on April 22,” said Northam. “Postponing these elections is the best way to protect democracy without endangering public health or violating the stay-at-home order.”

The plan the Governor is proposing includes the following measures:

• There will be one ballot in November.
• Voters who are qualified in November will be able to vote in November. An individual who was not qualified in May but is qualified in November will be able to vote.
• All absentee ballots already cast will be discarded. Virginians will have an opportunity to vote for local elected officials in November.
• Those officials whose terms are to expire as of June 30, 2020 will continue in office until their successors have been elected on the November 3, 2020 and have been qualified to serve.

“I urge the General Assembly to do their part and take action to move our upcoming elections,” Northam said.

Additionally, Northam says he is using his executive authority to move Congressional primaries back two weeks from June 9 to June 23.

Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.