March12, 2020 Atlanta - Speaker of the House David Ralston speaks as the morning session begins during Crossover day at the Georgia State Capitol on Thursday, March 11, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

House Speaker Ralston: Ongoing emergency should delay Georgia primary

House Speaker David Ralston wrote in a letter Sunday that a further delay of Georgia’s upcoming primary election is justified because there will still be a state of emergency from the coronavirus on election day May 19.

The letter emailed to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger reiterates Ralston’s argument that the election should be moved to June. 

Ralston, a Republican from Blue Ridge, said the primary should be postponed because elderly poll workers will be at risk, and because legislators should be able to review Raffensperger’s planned expansion of absentee-by-mail voting.

The presidential primary, originally scheduled for March 24, was already delayed once. It now coincides with the previously scheduled May 19 general primary. Ralston wants both the presidential and general primaries to be rescheduled.

Map: Coronavirus cases in Georgia

Dashboard: COVID-19 stats in Georgia

All active voters in Georgia will soon be mailed absentee ballot request forms for the election, Raffensperger announced last week. Georgia has allowed any registered voter to use an absentee ballot since 2005. In-person voting will remain available during early voting and on election day.

Raffensperger said Friday that he and county officials plan to stick with the May 19 election date.

Related: Study: Georgia COVID-19 pandemic to peak week of April 22

More: Complete coronavirus coverage

Under state law, the secretary of state can postpone an election for 45 days during an emergency, as he did March 14. In-person early voting will resume 44 days later, on April 27.

But Ralston’s letter said the 45 days postponement can be extended “if an emergency is ongoing.” He suggested holding the election June 16.

READ MORE: Raffensperger's memo and Ralston's letter

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.

With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.

Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.

X