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Virginia's May and June elections postponed to prevent coronavirus spread

Elections in May and June have been postponed by two weeks. Virginians are encouraged to vote absentee by mail if they can.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is postponing upcoming elections in the Commonwealth by two weeks. General and Special Elections scheduled in 56 localities across the state are postponed from May 5 to May 19. June's primary elections have been moved from June 9 to June 23. 

Previously, Northam requested the General Assembly move the May General Election and all special elections scheduled for May 5 to the Nov. 3 General Election date. The House of Delegates approved the measure, but the Senate did not pass the measure. 

RELATED: Upcoming Virginia elections postponed to mitigate COVID-19 spread

"Virginians should never have to choose between casting a ballot and risking their health," Northam said. "I am grateful to the House of Delegates for taking action to move our upcoming elections, but unfortunately the Senate failed to make the same commonsense decision. While we strongly encourage every Virginian who can vote by mail to do so, we will also take every necessary step to conduct these elections in a way that ensures in-person voting is done safely and responsibly." 

Virginians whose locality is having an election on May 19 are encouraged to vote absentee by mail. The Department of Elections recommends voters who request an absentee ballot use the reason code for having a disability or an illness.

Voters can request online that an absentee ballot be mailed to them by visiting elections.virginia.gov/voterinfo or by downloading and printing a request form at elections.virginia.gov/forms.  Absentee ballots returned by mail must be received by the local General Registrar by 7:00 PM on May 19. 

"This is the most challenging time in election administration that any of us have ever lived through," Allison J. Robbins, president of the Voter Registrars Association of Virginia, said. "Registrars across Virginia are committed to ensuring that every election official feels protected while performing their duties on Election Day. Registrars are equally committed to ensuring the safety and security of all voters and ensuring that voters can cast their ballots with confidence that they will be counted." 

Northam has advised all Virginians to wear a mask when they have to leave their homes for an essential trip to help curb the spread of the virus.

RELATED: May 8 is the earliest Virginia can begin to reopen, says Gov. Northam

What precautions should you take?

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Check the status of the virus in your state with your state health department's websites by tapping below:

RELATED: Virginia to review past deaths to look for unidentified COVID-19 cases

RELATED: Virginia coronavirus updates: May 8 is earliest date state can begin reopening

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