Rhode Island governor postpones primary until June 2

Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi and Puerto Rico also put off votes

Voters arrive at a Hillsboro, Va., polling place in 2018. Numerous states have postponed primaries because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and Rhode Island joined them Monday.  (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Voters arrive at a Hillsboro, Va., polling place in 2018. Numerous states have postponed primaries because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and Rhode Island joined them Monday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted March 23, 2020 at 4:22pm

Add another state to the growing list of postponed primary elections: Rhode Island.

Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, said Monday she would sign an executive order to move the state's presidential primary from April 28 to June 2 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Last week, the Board of Elections requested that the presidential primary election be postponed ... and that the election take place primarily by mail ballot," she said on Twitter Monday. "I am following the advice."

Democrats in Alaska, too, said Monday they would cancel in-person voting originally scheduled for April 4 and instead adopt an extensive vote-by-mail primary process. Ballots must now be received in Anchorage no later than April 10 to be counted, party officials said.

"The Alaska Democratic Party has already mailed ballots to over 71,000 registered Democrats across the state, seven times the number of people that participated in the 2016 caucuses," said party's executive director, Lindsay Kavanaugh. "We want to continue to allow for maximum participation in this historic primary while respecting the health and safety of our voters and volunteers.”

Hawaii Democrats announced Friday they were cancelling in-person voting in the presidential primary that was set for April 4. Registered Democrats will receive mail-in ballots instead, but the announcement did not give a deadline for their return.

Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson said on Friday that the state's governor, Republican Tate Reeves, had agreed to postpone a runoff election in the 2nd Congressional District. The GOP runoff between Brian Flowers, a nuclear power worker, and real estate agent Thomas Carey is now scheduled for June 23. The winner will face Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, who won 77 percent of the vote in 2018.

And on Saturday, Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez signed a bill moving the territory's Democratic presidential primary to April 26 from March 29.