Rhode Island is the latest state to postpone its 2020 primary as coronavirus outbreak spreads

Gina Raimondo, governor of Rhode Island, speaks during a panel discussion on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Rhode Island will move its 2020 primary to June 2 from the originally planned April 28 in response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Monday.

Last week, the Rhode Island Board of Elections voted to postpone the state’s primary from April 28 to June 2, according to the board’s deputy director of elections, Miguel Nunez. But the decision was “pending the governor signing an emergency order,” Nunez said.

“I am following the advice of the Board of Elections, and will sign an executive order to do this,”  Raimondo said in a tweet on Monday.

Rhode Island has 26 delegates up for grabs. Sen. Bernie Sanders won the state in 2016 when he ran against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

The state is the latest to postpone its primary because of health threats brought on by the coronavirus, which has roiled markets and infected hundreds of thousands of people globally. Several state and local officials have begun enforcing “social distancing,” keeping people at least six feet apart to avoid transmitting the virus, as deemed by health experts. Voting in person in proximity to other people could spread the virus. 

Here are the states that have postponed their primaries:

  • Georgia (rescheduled to May 19)
  • Connecticut (rescheduled to June 2)
  • Indiana (rescheduled to June 2)
  • Ohio (rescheduled to June 2, pending approval from the courts)
  • Rhode Island (rescheduled to June 2)
  • Louisiana (rescheduled to June 20)
  • Kentucky (rescheduled to June 23)

The outbreak has upended the 2020 Democratic presidential primary as Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden compete to take on President Donald Trump in November.

The current candidates have stopped holding in-person campaign events. Sanders, who has fallen behind Biden in the race for pledged delegates, is now mulling his prospects as he considers whether to leave the race or forge ahead. 

The Democratic National Committee has so far said it will move forward with its convention in July despite the disruptions.

The coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, has spread to dozens of countries, with more than 367,400 confirmed cases worldwide and at least 16,100 deaths so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There are at least 41,500 cases in the United States and at least 499 deaths, according to the latest tallies. 

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