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Kentucky Becomes Third State To Officially Delay Its Presidential Primary

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Andrew Kerr Investigative Reporter
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Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams announced Monday the state has delayed its May 19 primary election until June 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The move by Kentucky makes it the third state to postpone its primary election due to coronavirus. Louisiana and Georgia have also announced delays to their respective presidential primaries due to the crisis.

Adams, a Republican, said in a video message posted to Twitter that Kentucky law allows the secretary of state and the governor to jointly act to delay an election due to a state of emergency. Adams said he and Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear agreed that delaying the primary necessary to protect the health of the state’s citizens.

“These are unprecedented times,” Adams said. “Postponing the primary was not an easy decision.”

“This delay will allow me, the state board of elections and our county clerks time to asses which changes to make to ensure a successful primary election,” Adams said. “There could be more changes, but this was a first step to buy us time and keep our citizens as safe as possible.”

The delay by Kentucky comes as Arizona, Illinois, Ohio and Florida are set to hold primary elections on Tuesday.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, recommended Monday that the state should postpone its primary until June because of the virus, but the decision to delay ultimately rests with the legislature and the courts. It’s unclear at this time whether Ohio’s primary will be delayed. (RELATED: Ohio Governor Calls For Primary To Be Delayed One Day Before Election)

“We can’t tell people it’s in their best interest to stay home and at the same time tell people to go vote,” DeWine said Monday. “We should not force people to choose between their health and their constitutional duties as citizens.”

Officials in Arizona, Illinois and Florida said Monday that their primary elections on Tuesday will move forward as scheduled, The New York Times reported.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday questioned the logic of holding primary elections at the same time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that no gatherings of more than 50 people take place for at least eight weeks.

“I would hope governors listen to the public health experts and what they are saying is, you just indicated, we don’t want gatherings of more than 50 people,” Sanders said on CNN after Sunday’s debate. “I’m thinking about some of the elderly people sitting behind the desks, registering people, all that stuff. It does not make a lot of sense.”

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