'Unprecedented times’: Kentucky moves primary to June

'Unprecedented times’: Kentucky moves primary to June
Ohio Secretary of State Michael Adams explains in this Twitter video why Kentucky delayed its May 19 primary election to June 23. (Source: KY Sec. of State Michael G. Adams Twitter account)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Kentucky has delayed its primary election, becoming the latest state to take such steps in an attempt to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The May 19 primary will now be held on June 23, Secretary of State Michael Adams announced in a video posted to his Twitter account overnight.

Kentucky law allows Adams and Gov. Andy Beshear to make the decision, one Adams describes as a bipartisan agreement during “unprecedented times.”

“Postponing the primary was not an easy decision. But the Republican secretary of state and the Democratic governor agree, and so do county clerks of both parties. And they are our front line election administrators,” said Adams in a statement put out late Monday.

“My hope," he adds in the Twitter video, “is that this delay will allow us to have a normal election.”

In an executive order Monday, Beshear wrote that 21 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed since March 6 in multiple counties in the Commonwealth, including cases that indicate the virus is community spread.

Kentucky is the latest state to change its election schedule as the coronavirus pandemic halts most normal activity across the nation.

Citing the health emergency presented by coronavirus, Gov. Mike DeWine directed Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton to order polls closed Monday night, just hours before polls were to open statewide early Tuesday for the primary election.

“During this time when we face an unprecedented public health crisis, to conduct an election tomorrow would force poll workers and voters to place themselves at an unacceptable health risk of contracting coronavirus,” DeWine said late Monday.

“As such, Dr. Amy Acton will order the polls closed as a health emergency. While the polls will be closed tomorrow, Secretary of State Frank LaRose will seek a remedy through the courts to extend voting options so that every voter who wants to vote will be granted that opportunity.”

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