A closer look

Georgia reschedules its primary amid coronavirus fears — four other states will still have their primaries on Tuesday

More stories from Ta'Leah Van Sistine

Life in the city
December 8, 2021

After Louisiana became the first state to postpone their presidential primaries amid the COVID-19 spread, Georgia followed suit.

Georgia’s original election date of March 24 has been pushed back to May 19, according to a statement from Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state.

Both Louisiana and Georgia made these decisions this past weekend on March 13 and 14 respectively, but three states with primaries scheduled for this Tuesday are still being held.

Elaine Godfrey, a reporter for The Atlantic, said in an article that election experts are claiming there is “not enough time” for Arizona, Illinois and Florida to make major adjustments to their primary election dates, or switch to a vote-by-mail system. 

As of today, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said that no in-person voting will take place in the state’s primary tomorrow. 

The deadline to request absentee ballots for Tuesday’s elections has already passed as well. 

Godfrey said officials are focusing on keeping polling sites clean and armed with sanitation supplies, as they expect millions of people to still show up and vote in person.

“(These sanitation supplies) in most cases (mean) … gloves for poll workers to wear, hand sanitizer, isopropyl-alcohol wipes to clean the voting machines between each use and Clorox wipes for tables and other surfaces,” Godfrey said. “Officials are encouraging people to bring their own pens to fill out forms and training poll workers in proper equipment-cleaning and hand-washing.”

Godfrey also said many poll workers, who tend to be elderly and are therefore more susceptible to the coronavirus, are canceling their shifts for Tuesday.

“In a normal election, you may have a 10 percent vacancy rate,” John Mirkovic, the deputy county clerk for policy in Cook County Illinois, said. “We’ve hit that number already. We could potentially have 20 or 25 percent called off by Election Day.”

When enough poll workers from one election site cancel their shift, that polling location could close as a result. 

Mirkovic said voters should check their county elections-board website before they head to the polls on Tuesday, in case the site has been shut down. 

Before Georgia moved their presidential primary date, Janine Eveler, the elections director for Cobb County in Georgia, said “a little over 100” poll workers quit in recent days because of coronavirus fears. 

“Each day we had more and more poll workers wanting to bow out due to concern over their health,” Eveler said. 

As for the Wisconsin primary, an article by the New York Times confirmed it will still be held on April 7. 

However, voters in nursing homes and care centers are being sent absentee ballots in Wisconsin. 

Municipal clerks have also been given the option to relocate polling places that are currently scheduled to be in nursing homes and other care centers. 

According to the New York Times, the Wisconsin Democratic Party said it was encouraging people to vote early or absentee. 

The organization assured voters they may request an absentee ballot for any reason.

To request an absentee ballot as a Wisconsin voter, go to https://myvote.wi.gov/en-US/VoteAbsentee

Van Sistine can be reached at [email protected]