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Northam calls for election postponement

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam requested that the General Assembly move the May general election and special elections scheduled for May 5 to the Nov. 3 general election date.

The move, according to a release from the Office of the Governor, was made to further mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The governor is also exercising his statutory authority to move the June primary elections from June 9 to June 23.

Moving the May elections will require action by the General Assembly.

“We have wrestled with our options and none of them are ideal or perfect,” Northam said. “Postponing these elections is the best way to protect Democracy without endangering the public health or violating the Stay-at-Home Order.”

Northam’s plan, if enacted, means there will be only one ballot in November. Additionally, anyone who wasn’t qualified to vote this May but becomes qualified in November will be able to cast their vote.

Perhaps the most controversial measure of the governor’s request involves absentee ballots. All absentee ballots already cast will be discarded. The release emphasizes that all Virginians will have an opportunity to vote for local elected officials in November.

Subsequently, officials whose terms are to expire as of June 30 this year will continue in office until their successors have been elected on Nov. 3 and have been qualified to serve.