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Northam: June primary, May local elections should move

Virginia covid-19
(© Ingo Menhard –

Gov. Ralph Northam will ask the General Assembly move the May general election and all special elections scheduled for May 5 to the Nov. 3 general election date.

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

This as updated modeling from the University of Washington Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation show the state hitting peak hospital resource use on April 20, at one-fourth the state’s capacity for hospital beds, and a state hospital resource dashboard showing Virginia with more than two times the ventilators it will need on that date.

This is almost clearly an indication that the governor does not intend to lift or even loosen the stay-at-home order issued last month anytime soon, despite the substantially different public health situation now facing the Commonwealth.

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

“As other states have shown, conducting an election in the middle of this global pandemic would bring unprecedented challenges and potential risk to voters and those who work at polling places across the Commonwealth,” Northam said. “Making these decisions now will help election officials prepare and implement the necessary changes. This is about protecting the health and safety of Virginians during this pandemic and ensuring our citizens can make their voices heard in a safe, fair, and uniform manner. I urge the General Assembly to do their part and take action to move our upcoming elections.”

“Free and fair elections are at the core of our democracy and no Virginian should have to choose between their health and exercising their right to vote,” Attorney General Herring said. “I’m proud to have worked closely with Governor Northam and his team on a solution that protects both public health and the integrity of our elections.”

The plan the governor is proposing includes the following measures:

  • There will be one ballot in November.
  • Voters who are qualified in November will be able to vote in November. An individual who was not qualified in May but is qualified in November will be able to vote.
  • All absentee ballots already cast will be discarded. Virginians will have an opportunity to vote for local elected officials in November.
  • Those officials whose terms are to expire as of June 30, 2020 will continue in office until their successors have been elected on the November 3, 2020 and have been qualified to serve.

For additional resources and information about Virginia’s COVID-19 response, please visit