Chesterton Tribune



Indiana Primary Election delayed until June 2

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The Indiana primary election will be postponed until June 2 due to the current emergency situation of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

Gov. Eric Holcomb and Secretary of State Connie Lawson announced so in a media briefing at the Statehouse Friday morning. The Chesterton Tribune watched via an online live stream.

Holcomb said an election should only be postponed in a great emergency, but Indiana finds itself in that emergency now.

Though the primary is seven weeks away, Holcomb said he’s been leaning toward postponing the election “in order to again ensure the safety of our county employees, our poll workers, and the voters themselves.”

Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer and Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody worked with Lawson to come to consensus on postponing the election until June 2, Holcomb said.

“With multiple counties suspending normal business, we want to give clerks and election boards time to adjust,” Lawson said.

Lawson made a set of recommendations for the Indiana election commission, which meets next Wednesday, March 25 at the Statehouse at 10 a.m. Her recommendations are as follows:

--Indiana suspend absentee ballots rules to allow all Indiana residents the option to vote by mail for the June 2 primary;

--Indiana allow county clerks to continually mail ballots from now until 12 days before the primary;

--Indiana confirm that ballots with a May 5, 2020 date will be counted as valid;

--Indiana expand the definition of who is allowed to assist with voting for travel boards to medical personnel;

--and Indiana allow family members of voters to deliver absentee ballots on others’ behalf.

“All these steps will be in concert to ensure that our election process will continue and that every eligible voter is given the opportunity to vote in the June 2 primary,” Lawson said. “I am confident that we will conduct a safe, secure, and fair election.”

The election announcement follows a host of State directives aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, the latest of which was yesterday ordering the closure of all public and nonpublic schools through May 1 and canceling state assessments. Holcomb’s orders have increased in strictness as more patients in Indiana have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week and two have died.

Indiana has a total of 79 confirmed COVID-19 cases after 554 people were tested, seven of which are in Lake and LaPorte counties, according to the Indiana government’s online map of cases. No Porter County residents have tested positive as of this writing, though a LaPorte man who tested positive went to Porter Regional Hospital for treatment.



Posted 3/20/2020




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