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'It's for the best': Georgia primary moved to June 9

Andy Holland with Houston County Board of Election says in-person voting would have been challenging if the election took place in May

MACON, Ga. — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced on Thursday that they will be moving the state primary to June 9.

The Georgia Secretary of State's Office says this decision was made after Governor Brian Kemp extended the State of Emergency to May 13. One local election official says the decision to move the primary was "for the best."

"I think in-person voting would have been a challenge," said Andy Holland assistant director of Houston County's Board of Elections.

Holland says the Secretary of State's office has been prepping election boards to take coronavirus precautions if voting happened in May.

"The state was going to send us some PPE [personal protective equipment] and hand sanitizer to use at the in-person locations," Holland said. 

On top of that, the state asked poll workers to monitor social distancing between voters.

"In addition to controlling how many people go into the polling place at once, spacing the machines so they're more than six feet apart, keeping people in line 6 feet apart," Holland added. 

With all of these precautions, as well as concerns rising with COVID-19, counties across the state, including Houston, would have had problems finding poll workers willing to help.

"We were having workers saying they weren't going to work until the coronavirus still levels out so it's a little more safer," Holland said. 

Holland says the Secretary of State's office listened to local counties' concerns on preparedness for the May election.

Even though the primary has been moved to June, Holland is still encouraging voting by an absentee ballot since the spread of COVID-19 will likely still be a concern then. Between Monday and Wednesday of this week, Holland said Houston County has received 3,000 to 3,500 absentee applications, and he's expecting even more given coronavirus concerns. 

Here's the new schedule for the Georgia primary:

Monday, May 11: Deadline to register to vote

Monday, May 18: Early Voting begins

Tuesday, June 9: Georgia Primary Election

Tuesday, August 11: Primary Runoff Election

RELATED: Mail-in voting in Georgia | How it works

RELATED: Georgia Secretary of State pushes primary election back to June 9

RELATED: Here's how absentee voting will work for the upcoming Georgia primary

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