Delaware primary elections moved to July 7 due to COVID-19 pandemic

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- The primary elections in Delaware have been moved to July 7, Governor John Carney announced Thursday.

The Delaware Department of Elections will mail absentee ballot applications to all registered Democrats and Republicans in the state.

The state says this will provide all eligible registered Delaware voters the opportunity to vote by absentee ballot in the presidential primary election.

"Delawareans have a basic, fundamental right to vote, and these changes will allow all Delaware voters to safely exercise that right," Governor Carney said in a statement. "We are making progress. Delawareans have helped flatten the curve by staying home, and by practicing social distancing when you're out in public. But this fight isn't over. Don't go out in public unnecessarily, and wear a face covering when you do. Wash your hands often. Delawareans should stay vigilant, and stay informed at de.gov/coronavirus."

Eligible Delaware voters will be permitted to select the "sick" or "temporarily or permanently physically disabled" options on their absentee ballot application to cast a vote in the presidential primary election, even if they are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

Voters must return the application to the Delaware Department of Elections or complete the process online to receive an absentee ballot.

The Delaware Department of Elections will operate at least six polling places in each county to allow voters to cast ballots in person should they choose not to vote by absentee ballot.

The primary was originally scheduled for April 28, then it was rescheduled for June 2, before this latest change.

Governor Carney's order on Thursday also reschedules school board elections for July 21, and places additional requirements on municipalities that are conducting elections. The order requires districts and municipalities to enforce social distancing during elections, require face coverings, and limit crowds to 10 or fewer people at polling places.

The order also formalizes interim steps announced on Tuesday, allowing certain small businesses to resume limited operations effective 8 a.m. Friday.

"Together we've been able to flatten this curve and now we need to follow through, follow the instructions, as we gradually reopen our economy," Carney said during Tuesday's press briefing.

Carney's State of Emergency declaration - including the stay-at-home order and mandatory 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers - remains in place.

Delaware is reporting 5,778 positive cases of coronavirus and 193 deaths
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