Georgia House Speaker asks Sec. of State to push back primaries another month

Georgia's House Sparker sent a letter to the Secretary of State asking to push the date of the Primary Election back even further.

Georgia’s primary, which should have been held this past Tuesday, was pushed back to May 19 due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic. Speaker David Ralston is asking to move the primary back another month as other states across the South have.

SEE ALSO: Georgia's March 24 presidential primaries postponed due to COVID-19

He wrote in part:

“Faced with this uncertainty, many neighboring states have postponed primary run-offs, the general primaries having already been held. These include Alabama moving from March 31st until July 14th, Texas from May 26th until July 14th, North Carolina from May 12th until June 23rd, and Kentucky from May 19th until June 23rd. Pushing the primary back a month or more gives us more time to allow the situation to improve so that voters can vote in the manner in which they are most familiar. More importantly, it would make our highest priority the health and safety not only of voters, but our hard-working poll workers and elections officials.

“A May 19th primary in Georgia would put our state the earliest, by more than a month, than any other in the south.

“I realize you have developed plans to accommodate any continuing public health concerns. While I commend the goal, I respectfully submit that many of these measures deserve full and thorough legislative consideration before implementation.

“Accordingly, I would request that the General Primary scheduled now for May 19th be postponed to a date no earlier than June 23rd. Further, that the General Primary be conducted utilizing the same procedures which have served our state well, until the elected representatives of Georgia’s citizens have a full opportunity to discuss and consider any changes.”

SEE ALSO: Georgia to mail absentee ballot applications to all voters

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State health officials expect to see more confirmed cases and deaths as testing continues and the virus spreads within local communities.

LIVE: Interactive map tracks global spread of COVID-19

DPH says it is working closely with the CDC, and state partners to respond to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S., including Georgia. The goal is to quickly identify cases of COVID-19 and take the appropriate public health action to reduce its spread and protect the general public. 

Public health officials have urged social distancing to slow down or stop the spread of coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults who are 60+ and people with serious medical conditioners, such as heart disease and diabetes, are at higher risk of getting very sick from coronavirus. 

Georgia Coronavirus Hotline available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.: 844-442-2681

Since the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp has issued a "shelter-in-place" order for groups "at-risk." Groups affected by the order include people living in longterm care facilities, have chronic lung disease, are undergoing cancer treatment, have a positive or are suspected to have a positive test, or who have been exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

All public schools in the state were ordered closed until March 31. Public gatherings have also been limited to no more than 10 people in order to prevent the spread of the virus. The executive order will also enforce a statewide closure of all bars and nightclubs.

Coronavirus shelter-in-place orders: 'At-risk' groups in Georgia; all residents in Atlanta

Mobile testing sites have been deployed in certain regions of the state, with more on the way. Kemp has said he does not plan to impose any statewide curfews, business closures or forced quarantines. 

Though the governor has not declared a state of emergency for all of Georgia, many local municipalities have.

Monday evening, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an executive order asking all residents of the city of "stay at their place of residence" for 14 days starting at midnight on March 24. The order also urges homeless people to seek out shelter and direct "government and other entities to provide it."

"Based upon our density & specific needs/concerns in Atlanta, I’ve signed a 14 day Stay at Home Order," the mayor posted on Twitter.

Officials in Dougherty County and Athens-Clarke County have ordered residents to stay home unless they’re going to work, buying food, seeking medical care or exercising.

“Drastic measures must be taken to decelerate the spread of COVID-19,” Albany Mayor Bo Dorough said at a news conference Friday. “We anticipate the results of the more than 1,000 tests we have conducted will confirm we have hundreds of people in Dougherty County with the virus.”

Atlanta and multiple suburbs have banned in-restaurant dining, limiting eateries to takeout and delivery service, as well as closing bars, theaters, bowling alleys and other gathering places. Tybee Island banned visitors to beaches, as well as the open consumption of alcohol.

Georgia has opened at least 13 drive-thru locations for virus testing and plans more. Kemp says priority for tests is being given to those at highest risk — the elderly, people who already have chronic illnesses, those in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities and first responders such as paramedics.

Know how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting Georiga

Best prevention measures:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces


RELATED:, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates.