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Indiana, Mississippi Are Latest US States to Postpone Primary Elections

Gov. Eric Holcomb speaks during a news conference at the Statehouse, March 20, 2020, in Indianapolis. Holcomb said the Indiana presidential primary will be held on June 2 because of concern about the coronavirus pandemic.

Indiana and Mississippi are the latest U.S. states to postpone primary elections because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Indiana’s Republican governor, Eric Holcomb, said Friday that voting in the state's presidential primary, originally scheduled for May 5, would now take place June 2.

“It stands to reason that rescheduling such an election should only be done in a time of emergency, and by definition we find ourselves in that situation,” Holcomb said in a statement.

The governor said both the state’s Democratic and Republican party chairs supported the move.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves addresses reporters during a news conference, March 4, 2020, in Jackson, Miss.
Republican Gov. Tate Reeves addresses reporters during a news conference, March 4, 2020, in Jackson, Miss.

Mississippi’s Republican governor, Tate Reeves, Friday postponed the state’s March 31 Republican primary congressional runoff to June 23. Mississippi has already held its presidential primaries.

“Conducting an election during this outbreak would force poll workers and voters to place themselves in unnecessary risk,” Reeves said in a statement.

Indiana and Mississippi join a handful of states that have already postponed elections because of the coronavirus — Connecticut, Maryland, Kentucky, Ohio, Louisiana and Georgia. Wyoming suspended the in-person portion of its caucuses, urging people to vote through a ballot pickup and drop-off system.

Government officials in those states have cited concerns that holding elections during a pandemic would be a public health risk.

The White House this week urged all Americans to avoid groups of more than 10 and advised older people to stay home altogether.

Earlier this week, Arizona, Florida and Illinois continued with their plans to hold primary elections, with reports indicating that voter turnout was down in those states.

Former Vice President Joe Biden won the Democratic presidential primary in all three states, giving him an almost insurmountable lead over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the race to take on President Donald Trump in the general election in November.