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Coronavirus cancels Louisiana primary but March 17 states are still on and planning a 'clean' vote

DeArbea Walker

Louisiana's chief elections officer, Kylse Ardoin, asked the governor on Friday to postpone April's presidential primary election due to the spread of coronavirus, but the four states holding contests on Tuesday are proceeding -- albeit with caution..

Ardoin, Louisana's secretary of state, said he wants to delay the April 4 primary until June 20. The request was expedited to the office of Gov. John Bel Edwards, who has signed an executive order moving the election, making Louisiana the first state to push back its election because of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Arizona, Ohio, Illinois and Florida all will hold primaries on March 17 and are proceeding -- but with the realities of coronavirus looming in the background.

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FOX Business reached out to four states for their election day coronavirus prevention plans.

Florida's secretary of state office sent a memo out to election staff on March 6 with CDC proposed practices they should exhibit while working the polls. It asked poll workers who are feeling ill or have a fever to stay home, to wash hands for at least 20 seconds, and to wipe and to routinely clean and disinfect voting-associated equipment. The state has also advised voters that they have a number of voting options such as requesting a mail-in ballot and voting at their local early voting sites to avoid long lines.

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The chief election officials of Arizona, Ohio and Illinois released a joint statement Friday stating they are "working closely with our state health officials to ensure that our poll workers and voters can be confident that voting is safe."

Adding, "Americans have participated in elections during challenging times in the past, and based on the best information we have from public health officials, we are confident that voters in our states can safely and securely cast their ballots in this election, and that otherwise, healthy poll workers can and should carry out their patriotic duties on Tuesday."

Frank La Rose, Ohio's Secretary of State, is also emphasizing early voting and has set up a mail-in ballot "drive-thru." His office has also advised elder poll workers to stay home and are adding over 1300 new poll workers.

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This is the first time Louisiana has postponed its elections since hurricanes Katrina and Rita made landfall in 2005 and hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008.

The boot-shaped state was set to begin early voting next week, but Ardoin felt with a large number of elderly poll workers and national concerns about people gathering in groups he didn't feel comfortable continuing with the election plans.

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As of Friday morning, the state of Louisiana had 33 cases largely concentrated in the New Orleans area with eight confirmed deaths due to the virus. That was a 20-case jump in 48 hours as the state continues to wait on confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Louisiana's governor Edwards declared a state public health emergency on March 11th.

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