The presidential and statewide general primary election has been delayed to June 9 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The voter registration deadline now will be May 11 and early voting will begin May 18. The primary runoff date will be Aug. 11.

Originally scheduled for March 24, the presidential election previously was rescheduled for May 19 — which was also the statewide primary date — as the pandemic spread through Georgia.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced the new date on April 9, after absentee ballot invitations had started appearing in voters’ mailboxes. He said in a press release that he felt legally approved to delay the election again by a recent extension of Gov. Brian Kemp’s emergency powers through May 13.

“I certainly realize that every difficulty will not be completely solved by the time in-person voting begins for the June 9 election, but elections must happen even in less than ideal circumstances,” said Raffensperger in the press release. “Just like our brave healthcare workers and first responders, our county election officials and poll workers are undertaking work critical to our democracy, and they will continue to do this critical work with all the challenges that the current crisis has brought forth. This postponement allows us to provide additional protection and safety resources to county election officials, poll workers, and voters without affecting the November election.”

The presidential preference primary is now irrelevant, as incumbent Donald Trump is the only Republican candidate on the ballot, and Joe Biden is now the only remaining candidate in the Democratic primary race.

However, the combined election now includes a variety of other races, including DeKalb County sheriff and nonpartisan races for seats on school boards in DeKalb and Fulton counties. It also includes primaries in the U.S. Senate and Georgia General Assembly races.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.