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Election delayed again; set for June 9

Issues with keeping voters and poll workers safe during pandemic conditions forced Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger to postpone the general, non-partisan and presidential primaries which had been set for May 19. Those votes will now take place on June 9. The presidential primary had already been delayed once from its original date of March 24 to May 19 due to COVID-19. Nearly 14,000 absentee applications have been mailed to local residents, according to Pike election supervisor Lynn Vickers. ’Applications are due back by June 5 but the sooner they are returned, the quicker the vendor can send out the ballot to ensure vote gets back to be counted,’ she said. ‘I believe voting by mail will be the safer option for this election. We just don’t know how long the COVID 19 will be so strong in the state. If voters have any questions, please call the board of elections office. The office is closed to the public, but there is a mail slot in the door for drop offs.’ The voter registration deadline for both primaries is now May 11 and the primary runoff will be held Aug. 11. Early in-person voting will run May 18-June 5 with Saturday voting set for May 30. Around 13,500 absentee ballots were sent to active voters in Pike and around 300 were sent to inactive voters. The number of coronavirus cases and resultant deaths is expected to peak around April 21, just a few days before advance voting was to start before the latest delay. All registered voters in Georgia have been mailed absentee ballot request forms and many will vote in that manner. Still, Georgia law requires in-person polling locations be open on election days, thus the delay. There are about 6.9 million active registered voters in Georgia. According to those in Raffensberger’s office, elections officials all over the state are having trouble finding poll workers. Generally, those workers are retired and most are 70 or older – the exact age group that is most vulnerable to the virus. Another issue is the loss of polling places. Some churches, large assisted living centers and other locales which have served as polling places in the past are opting out due to virus exposure and liability risks. June 9 was chosen because it was the latest date the election could be held without missing deadlines leading up to the Nov. 3 general election. Democratic presidential ballots will carry the names of 12 candidates who were originally in the race though all are now out except Joe Biden who is the presumptive nominee. President Donald Trump is the only name on the Republican presidential ballot.

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