Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin held a press conference on Friday, March 13 to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on upcoming Louisiana elections.
During the briefing he confirmed the postponement of the upcoming elections due to growing concerns over the coronavirus.
Ardoin says that he has requested the Governor's Office issue an executive order to make that postponement official.
"The health and safety of Louisiana residents is critical, and we want to do our part to prevent the spread of this highly infectious disease. One key stakeholder in our decision is our election day polling commissioners. Over half of Louisiana’s polling commissioners are over the age of 65, and the CDC warns that the older adults; people who have serious chronic medical conditions such as: heart disease, diabetes or lung disease are the people most at risk for serious illness from COVID-19."
Louisiana law allows for the postponement of an election due to an emergency or common disaster occurring before or during a regularly scheduled or special election, and today Secretary Ardoin exercised that option.
“Today, I have certified that a state of emergency exists, and requested that the Governor issue an executive order postponing the spring elections” Secretary Ardoin said Friday, “We have requested postponing the April 4 Presidential Preference Primary and Municipal Primary until June 20 and postponing the May 9 General election until July 25.”
The 2-month delay will allow our office to continue to procure necessary supplies to put our state in the best possible posture to conduct elections. Attached is the emergency certification sent to Governor John Bel Edwards.
Listed below are a few of the CDC recommendations for elections and election officials we are recommending and following:
- Stay at home if you have fever, respiratory symptoms, or believe you are sick.
- Practice hand hygiene frequently: wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces with household cleaning spray or wipe: including tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.
- Disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with germs after cleaning: A list of products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims is available at epa.gov
- Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against the virus that causes COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
- Clean and disinfect voting-associated equipment (e.g., voting machines, laptops, tablets, keyboards) routinely.
The April 4 Presidential Preference Primary and Municipal Primary election will be held on June 20. Early Voting will be conducted June 6 through June 13 (excluding Sunday, June 7).
The May 9 Municipal General election will be held on July 25. Early Voting will be conducted July 11 through July 18 (excluding Sunday, July 12).
Below is a statement from Gov. Edwards' office regarding the postponement of the primary election:
Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order postponing Louisiana's upcoming elections including the presidential primary in response to COVID-19, commonly called the coronavirus. The elections scheduled for April and May will take place in June and July.
'The number of presumptive positive cases in our state is constantly increasing, and we want to make certain that we have maximum participation by all voters regardless of their age and health conditions," said Gov. Edwards. "The majority of our poll workers are older Louisianans who are among the most vulnerable to this virus along with those who have chronic health conditions. It's necessary that we take every precaution to protect the health and safety of our people, and this is a serious situation that demands serious action. This was also a recommendation made by an in agreement with Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin. This is a rapidly changing situation, and we will respond appropriately to protect our citizens.'
Click here to read the executive order.
According to The Advocate, Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration confirmed the governor he will grant the delay on Friday.
The request would postpone the April 4, 2020 Presidential Primary Election to June 20, 2020 and the May 9, 2020 General Election to July 25, 2020.
Louisiana is the first state to postpone their elections because of the coronavirus.
Ardoin also discussed plans for the election and steps that will be taken to protect the health and safety of voters and voting officials.
The press conference was held at the Louisiana State Archives building in Baton Rouge.
Re-watch the press conference below: