National: Closed locations, a lack of poll workers: How coronavirus is affecting Tuesday’s election | Rebecca Morin/USA Today

Tuesday’s primary elections have seen some changes, large and small, amid the coronavirus outbreak. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday afternoon that he is requesting a delay to in-person voting from Tuesday until June 2, making it the only state holding contests on Tuesday to try to delay its primary. After a judge denied the request, the polls are likely still closing after all after an 11th hour manuever. Three other states – Arizona, Florida, and Illinois – will for sure head to the polls Tuesday, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders leading the Democratic race. Rep Tulsi Gabbard is still in the race, but she trails Biden and Sanders by hundreds of delegates. Many states and cities have taken extra precautions to slow the spread of the virus. Dozens of K-12 schools and universities have suspended classes or moved classes online. Restaurants are doing delivery or takeout only. Many Americans have begun working from home and practicing social distancing. Last week, officials from all four states said they were taking extra precautions to keep voting machines sanitized and will post guidance from local health officials at voting locations. Arizona Secretary of State Kathy Hobbs, Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, Illinois Elections Board Chairman Charles Scholz and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said in a joint statement last week that they are working closely “with our state health officials to ensure that our poll workers and voters can be confident that voting is safe.”

National: Hackers Attack Health and Human Services Computer System | David E. Sanger, Nicole Perlroth and Matthew Rosenberg/The New York Times

A crude effort by hackers to test the defenses of computer systems for the Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday evening escalated Monday, with administration officials saying they were investigating a significant increase in activity on the department’s cyberinfrastructure. But officials backed off earlier suggestions that a foreign power was behind the attack, coming as the nation and the world struggle to cope with the coronavirus. The incident appeared to be a particularly aggressive, if somewhat conventional, effort to scan the department’s networks for vulnerabilities, and perhaps to try to break into its email system. But while the effort set off alarms, given sensitivities around the work on the coronavirus, officials said they could not determine whether the action was the result of foreign actors or just hackers seizing on the moment to create chaos. The first reports came from White House officials, some of whom said that Iran may have been seeking revenge for American-led sanctions or for the U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the country’s most important military commander. While some officials embraced that view, cyberexperts who examined the incident said it was little different than the thousands of routine attempts that companies and government agencies fend off daily, as hackers and security researchers scan the internet for weak spots.

Editorials: Can Russia Use the Coronavirus to Sow Discord Among Americans? | Thomas Rid/The New York Times

Close observers of Russian disinformation tactics in electoral interference have two big questions as the 2020 election approaches: How large is the appetite for escalation among Russian intelligence agencies this time around? And where was, and is, S.V.R., Russia’s counterpart to the C.I.A.? The internal competition between Russian spy agencies is fierce, and S.V.R., a potent and storied foreign intelligence agency, is widely recognized as more competent, and stealthier, than Russia’s bumbling military spy agency, G.R.U. It was G.R.U. that was caught red-handed in 2016 meddling in the presidential election. At stake is what kind of election interference we should expect as November is coming: a lackluster rerun of leaking and trolling and fake social media activity, which would most likely be harder to do and less effective than in 2016 — or more pernicious operational innovation and escalation, perhaps even tactics that take advantage of the coronavirus outbreak. American intelligence officials reportedly reached a preliminary conclusion last week, and that answer points to escalation — as well as to S.V.R. Russian intelligence operatives, according to reports on the United States intelligence assessment, are working to support and amplify white supremacist groups in order to try to incite violence. The goal of an aggressive foreign active measures campaign is not, as a recently departed senior intelligence official implied, to strengthen President Trump. It is to weaken the United States.

Arizona: Primary Will Go on, With Officials Saying COVID-19 Risk Is Manageable | Elizabeth Whitman/Phoenix New Times

Arizona is among four states that will proceed with its Democratic primaries on Tuesday, as public health officials call for social distancing and an end to mass gatherings during the new coronavirus pandemic. Officials say that there will not be a better time to hold elections, and they maintain that they can do it safely. But they have stopped short of urging people to go out and vote. The risks of voting on Tuesday depend on several factors, including who else goes, where and how one votes, and how well-sanitized polling stations are. “We have no guarantee that there will be a safer time to hold this election in the near future,” Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said Monday afternoon during a press conference with other state leaders, including Governor Doug Ducey. “The longer we wait, the more difficult and dangerous this will become.” She urged voters to “make a decision that is right for you.” Characterizing voting as different from other gatherings, like concerts or sporting events, Hobbs and three other secretaries of state, from Florida, Illinois, and Ohio, said in a joint statement on Friday that voting could be done safely, in part because “polling locations see people from a nearby community coming into and out of the building for a short duration.”

Florida: On eve of vote, election chiefs, campaigns adjust to coronavirus | Antonio Fins and Christine Stapleton/The Palm Beach Post

Florida elections officials will hold the primary on Tuesday. But questions about turnout, polling locations and poll workers abounded statewide on Monday for an election that could decide the Democratic presidential nomination. On the eve of a consequential Florida primary, campaign staffers rallied their volunteers, party officials again called for a list of polling place changes and elections officials worked feverishly to enlist extra poll workers. Turnout is impossible to predict, but as of Monday 1.9 million Floridians had cast a ballot by mail or during the early voting window that closed on Sunday evening. State Democratic Party officials say that more than 100,000 Floridians who may be voting in-person on Tuesday have had their precincts changed. They again demanded Monday that Florida’s secretary of state release a master list of substitute statewide polling locations to avoid confusion and voter disenfranchisement. The one sure thing: The primary election is a go and polls will open in Florida at 7 a.m. Tuesday. Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, along with counterparts in Arizona and Illinois have made that clear enough.

Georgia: Judge: Cancellation of high court election was legal | Kate Brumback/Associated Press

Georgia’s secretary of state legally canceled a scheduled May 19 election for a seat on the state’s highest court, a judge ruled Monday, saying the governor can rightfully fill the post even though a judge who is resigning won’t leave until November. Two would-be candidates had accused Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger of violating the law by canceling the election for the outgoing judge’s seat. Georgia Supreme Court Justice Keith Blackwell last month told Gov. Brian Kemp that he planned to resign but would remain on the bench until Nov. 18. In announcing Blackwell’s decision, the high court said the Republican governor would name Blackwell’s replacement. But John Barrow, a former Democratic congressman from Athens, and former Republican state lawmaker Beth Beskin of Atlanta had both planned to challenge Blackwell when he was up for reelection in May. When the two tried to qualify for the race earlier this month, they were told the election had been canceled. They filed separate lawsuits in Fulton County Superior Court asking a judge to order Raffensperger to put the judicial election back on the calendar and allow candidates to qualify. Judge Emily K. Richardson held a hearing on the issue Friday.

Illinois: A primary like no other: Low turnout, poll worker shortage expected amid coronavirus | Rick Pearson, Hal Dardick and Bill Ruthart/Chicago Tribune

Illinoisans readied for a primary Election Day like no other Tuesday, with fear of the spread of coronavirus raising concerns of low turnout and too few poll workers as government leaders exhorted healthy voters to do their part to move democracy forward at the ballot box. With polls open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., the push to get people to vote came despite new federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to avoid crowds of 50 people or more. Chicago election officials stressed safety and encouraged voters to practice social distancing, even offering alternative less-crowded voting sites. But they acknowledged a “tsunami” of calls from poll workers opting not to show up at polling places and took the unusual step of urgently asking healthy people to show up and serve as judges. “We are in an untenable position at this point, and we understand and refuse to punish the judges whose age or health condition might prevent them from going out,” said Marisel Hernandez, chair of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. The board, she said, was “bracing for the most difficult election, under the most trying of times.” But Mayor Lori Lightfoot, speaking to reporters, sought to reassure the voting public, saying an “all-call for volunteers” resulted in “more than sufficient election judges at the ready to staff the polling places.” The result, she said, “has been nothing short of phenomenal.”

Maryland: Primary date unchanged, but Gov. Hogan says state is working on ‘contingencies’ | Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said the state is “working on contingencies” for the April 28 primary as other states postpone or offer mail-only voting for their upcoming elections due to the new coronavirus. During a news conference Monday in Annapolis, Hogan was asked about the primary after he announced a decision to close bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms across the state. The governor said he was “actively taking a look” at the issue, but chose to focus on restricting public gatherings Monday due to the St. Patrick’s Day holiday coming up on Tuesday. “We’ll try to maybe tackle that one tomorrow,” Hogan said of the primary. “But we are working on contingencies and getting input about what we have to do about the April primary.” Hogan has declared a “state of emergency” in Maryland due to the coronavirus. With that in place, state law allows the governor to issue a special proclamation to specify alternate voting locations, specify alternate voting systems or even postpone elections. No legislative approval is necessary.

Ohio: Governor Mike DeWine’s coronavirus response has become a national guide to the crisis | Griff Witte and Katie Zezima/The Washington Post

When Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a ban on spectators at the Arnold Classic, a juggernaut of a sports festival that brings tens of millions in revenue, the move seemed radical. It was March 3, and the state, after all, had not even had a single confirmed case of the novel coronavirus. But within days, large-capacity events were being canceled nationwide. A week later, DeWine recommended that his state’s colleges suspend in-person classes. Across the country, they soon did. He then closed Ohio’s public schools. Other states followed. And on Sunday, DeWine ordered all restaurants and bars be shuttered. By Monday, they were turning out the lights in New York, New Jersey and Maryland, too. As a global pandemic each day transforms the unthinkable into America’s new reality, the path is being guided by an unlikely leader: the short and bespectacled 73-year-old Republican governor of America’s seventh-most-populous state. DeWine might have helped set the national agenda for responding to the coronavirus again Monday, announcing a lawsuit against his state to delay in-person voting in the primary that had been slated for Tuesday. Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Richard A. Frye rejected DeWine’s lawsuit Monday night, throwing the primary into chaos. The plaintiffs planned to immediately appeal.

Wisconsin: Delaying Wisconsin’s April 7 presidential primary amid coronavirus pandemic would be difficult | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Top Wisconsin officials so far are not advocating for postponing the April 7 presidential primary because of the coronoavirus pandemic, and doing so would be much more difficult here than it has been in other states. Louisiana and Georgia last week postponed their presidential primaries amid fears of the deadly outbreak sweeping the globe. Wisconsin officials have not taken similar steps, and there may be no easy way to do it here, experts in election laws said. The cleanest way to do it would be for the Legislature to pass a law changing the election date. That would require Republicans who control the Legislature and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to get on the same page — something they have rarely been able to do. Evers said Monday he was not considering delaying the election “at this time,” even as he banned gatherings of more than 50 people. “We’re hoping to hold it on the date if we possibly can,” he told reporters. He made his comment as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced he would bring a lawsuit to try to extend his state’s primary, which is scheduled for Tuesday, to June 2. Three other states — Arizona, Florida, and Illinois — are supposed to have presidential primaries on Tuesday.

Russia: Justice Department abandons prosecution of Russian firm indicted in Mueller election interference probe | Spencer S. Hsu/The Washington Post

The Justice Department on Monday dropped its two-year-long prosecution of a Russian company charged with conspiring to defraud the U.S. government by orchestrating a social media campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. The stunning reversal came a few weeks before the case — a spinoff of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe — was set to go to trial. Assistants to U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea of Washington and Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers cited an unspecified “change in the balance of the government’s proof due to a classification determination,” according to a nine-page filing accompanied by facts under seal. Prosecutors also cited the failure of the company, Concord Management and Consulting, to comply with trial subpoenas and the submission of a “misleading, at best” affidavit by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a co-defendant and the company’s founder. Prigozhin is a catering magnate and military contractor known as “Putin’s chef” because of his ties to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin. “Upon careful consideration of all of the circumstances, and particularly in light of recent events . . . the government has concluded that further proceedings as to Concord . . . promotes neither the interests of justice nor the nation’s security,” federal prosecutors wrote.

National: Intensifying coronavirus fears rattle voters and elections officials in advance of Tuesday primaries | Amy Gardner and Elise Viebeck/The Washington Post

Voters, campaigns and election officials in four states holding contests Tuesday are braced for a presidential primary day unlike any in memory, as the surging threat of the novel coronavirus has forced major changes at voting locations, rattled poll workers and left voters worried about how to cast their ballots. In Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio, election officials have raced to replace poll workers who have said they will not show Tuesday, supply thousands of precincts with sanitizing supplies, and notify voters whose polling locations, many in senior facilities, have been moved as a result of the pandemic. Voters, meanwhile, have flooded information hotlines. Among their urgent questions: where to vote, how to deliver a ballot if they are under quarantine and how to vote if they registered while attending a college that is now closed. As the coronavirus spreads, the Democratic Party of Puerto Rico announced Sunday that it would seek to postpone the territory’s March 29 primaries, joining Louisiana and Georgia. One New York election official said Sunday that discussions are underway about whether to delay that state’s contests. The rapidly changing landscape left officials worried about the threat of two equally dire outcomes Tuesday: chaos at voting places, with diminished staffs causing long lines and increasing the risk of exposure to the deadly virus; or low turnout levels fueled by public fear.

Kentucky: Governor moves primary election date | Bruce Schreiner and Dylan Lovan/Associated Press

Kentucky’s governor has pushed back the May primary election and halted bar and restaurant in-person visits as he took aggressive steps to contain the new coronavirus. Gov. Andy Beshear also announced the state’s first death linked to the illness The 66-year-old Bourbon County man had other health conditions but his death was counted as a coronavirus fatality, Beshear said Monday. He offered his sympathy to the man’s family. “There were numerous factors that led to this point,” the governor said. “The coronavirus was only a factor. But what it means is that it’s very important that we all do our patriotic duty as we move forward to model the type of behavior that we need.” Beshear announced a postponement of the May primary election to June 23 after consulting with Secretary of State Michael Adams on Monday. Hall said that would give state officials time to prepare for an election if things aren’t yet back to normal.

Verified Voting Blog: Recommendations for Election Officials and Voters ahead of March 17 Primaries

The following is a statement from Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting in response to concerns around the March 17 primaries and the COVID-19 pandemic. For additional media inquiries, please contact PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – (March 16, 2020) “We understand the growing concerns about keeping voters safe at the polls amid the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), which is…

Ohio: Governor Moves to Postpone Primary Over Coronavirus Concerns | Nick Corasaniti and Stephanie Saul/The New York Times

Ohio said Monday that it would move to postpone its presidential primary, becoming the first of four states that had been scheduled to vote on Tuesday to try to push back its election because of worries about the coronavirus. The state’s governor, Mike DeWine, said that he did not have the authority to unilaterally delay the primary and that a lawsuit would be filed to delay the election. The new date that state officials are seeking is June 2, and absentee voting will continue until then, Mr. DeWine said at a news conference. “We don’t know who coming through the line has been infected,” he said. “We should not force people to make this choice, a choice between their health and their constitutional rights and their duties as American citizens.” Ohio’s move raised questions about whether the three other states scheduled to vote on Tuesday — Arizona, Illinois and Florida — would follow suit. On Monday afternoon, Arizona and Illinois were planning to proceed with their elections, according to officials in each state. Early Monday afternoon, elections officials in Florida indicated that the state’s primary would be held Tuesday, but Department of State officials could not immediately be reached after Mr. DeWine’s announcement about Ohio.

Ohio: Judge declines Ohio request to delay primary vote amid coronavirus | Daniel Strauss/The Guardian

A judge has declined to allow Ohio’s primary vote on Tuesday to be postponed over concerns about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recommended on Monday that his state postpone in-person voting during Tuesday’s primary elections. DeWine told a news conference on Monday that he alone did not have the authority to order postponing the election, but lawyers would file a lawsuit to try to move the in-person voting date to 2 June. “We cannot conduct this election tomorrow,” DeWine said, adding that Ohioans should not be forced to make the “choice between their health and their constitutional rights and their duties as [an] American citizen”. Later on Monday, in an interview with CNN, DeWine said without drastic moves tens of thousands of pollworkers, many of them “over the age of 65” would be in places where the virus could spread. “We in Ohio have to take very tough actions and I know people in Ohio today are very upset, I respect that,” DeWine added. But a Franklin county court of common pleas judge declined to order the postponement on Monday evening. According to a NBC news affiliate, Judge Richard Frye said he was reluctant to override the election date set by the Ohio legislature and that coronavirus has been an issue of concern since January.

National: Governors say Tuesday’s presidential primaries will go on | Associated Press

The governors of Illinois and Ohio on Sunday confirmed their states’ presidential primaries will continue as scheduled on Tuesday, even amidst the coronavirus outbreak. “We’re going to go ahead,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican who has moved aggressively to close schools and other institutions to limit spread of the virus, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “But we’re telling people, again, to be careful.” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, said his state is issuing similar warnings. “We’re going to go ahead with it,” Pritzker said of the primary. “But we’ve been extra careful at all of our polling places. Everybody is practicing good hygiene. And we’re making sure that it’s safe for people to come and vote. The schools are closed, so many people will be voting in schools. And there won’t be big crowds.” Arizona and Florida are also scheduled to vote Tuesday night. Early voting his been underway for weeks in all four states, which may limit the crush at polling places Tuesday. Some have worried that predominantly elderly poll workers and volunteers would be exposed to the disease amid crowds of voters.

National: Georgia, Louisiana Postpone Primaries Over Coronavirus Concern | Alexa Corse and Jon Kamps/Wall Street Journal

States across the country are grappling with how to hold their presidential nominating contests while keeping voters and poll workers shielded from the coronavirus. Georgia on Saturday postponed its March 24 primary until May 19 and paused in-person early voting, which had already begun. Louisiana said Friday it was postponing its April 4 primary, pushing it into June, and later-voting states such as Maryland and Pennsylvania are trying to figure out how to safely hold primaries as events across the U.S. are being rapidly canceled to limit the virus’s spread. Four states with primaries Tuesday—Arizona, Florida, Ohio and Illinois—assured voters they can safely turn out. They called for healthy poll workers to show up and provided guidance on keeping voting equipment clean, the chief election officials from the four states said in a joint statement Friday. “Unlike concerts, sporting events or other mass gatherings where large groups of people travel long distances to congregate in a confined space for an extended period of time, polling locations see people from a nearby community coming into and out of the building for a short duration,” the officials said. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged states to encourage early and mail-in voting when possible, or to encourage voters to come during off-peak times. The CDC also recommended cleaning and routinely disinfecting voting equipment, such as electronic voting machines.

National: Election Assistance Commission hires cybersecurity expert to help states with 2020 infrastructure | Sean Lyngaas/CyberScoop

The federal agency that oversees funding for states to secure their election equipment is hiring a cybersecurity expert versed in voting technology as it prepares for the 2020 election. Joshua Franklin will start in the coming weeks in a top cybersecurity position at the Election Assistance Commission, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. It is an effort by the EAC, a tiny agency with a big responsibility, to bolster the cybersecurity expertise it has on staff. Franklin, who spent six years as an engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is expected to protect EAC networks from hacking threats and support the commission’s cybersecurity work with state and local election officials. Franklin has been working as an election security advocate for years, drawing attention to the issue at hacking conferences. In 2018, Franklin presented research at DEF CON comparing the vulnerabilities in the websites of House and Senate candidates for the midterm elections. Franklin and others scanned the websites in their spare time and spent hours trying to contact administrators to fix them.

National: ‘Kill Chain’: HBO’s Election Security Doc Stresses Urgency | Lily Hay Newman/WIRED

In spite of documented Russian election meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election, and years of warnings from security researchers about insecure voting infrastructure, the US has moved slowly to improve its election defenses. Now a new documentary, Kill Chain, is attempting to lay out the urgency of taking action before it’s too late. Many of the problems and insecurities in voting systems across the United States are straightforward, yet it’s not easy to get voters—or lawmakers—to understand the risk or the path forward. That represents both a challenge and opportunity for Kill Chain, which like Netflix’s Cambridge Analytica documentary The Great Hack, tries to make an assortment of sometimes esoteric technical issues tangible and compelling. “It’s difficult material, which is why so many people don’t approach it and don’t cover it and don’t understand it,” filmmaker Sarah Teale tells WIRED. “That was definitely the hardest thing was to find the language of the film that made it make sense and made it some sort of a story.”

Editorials: How to protect the 2020 election from coronavirus | Richard L. Hasen/Slate

On Friday, Louisiana became the first state to announce it would be postponing its April 4 presidential primary. Meanwhile, officials in the next four states to hold primaries announced the votes would go forward this coming Tuesday. With the Democratic primary contest winding down of its own momentum, how to hold an election during a pandemic may feel at the moment like one of the less urgent questions. With our national election just less than eight months away, though, it is not. Congress can and should act to secure the ability of voters to cast ballots this November sooner rather than later. Most immediately, in light of the uncertain time frame for disruption of life and political activities due to the coronavirus, Congress should pass a law requiring states to offer no-excuse absentee balloting for the November elections. Congress has the power to do so, and it should fully fund the efforts. The bill has to be drafted carefully to protect all voters. But time is short. For this to happen, it must happen quickly.

Editorials: We need to emergency-proof our elections before November. In a democracy, the vote must go on | David Daley/Salon

he coronavirus has begun threatening elections. British prime minister Boris Johnson on Friday postponed U.K. local and mayoral elections for a year due to the outbreak. Louisiana, meanwhile, became the first state to reschedule its presidential primary, pushing it from April 4 all the way to mid-June.  The same fears led Wyoming Democrats to cancel the in-person portion of their April 4 caucus, but state law allows them to make a sensible adjustment: The entire caucus will now be conducted by mail, although voters can still drop off completed ballots at one of several collection centers. Everybody should have that right. While rallies have been canceled, and candidates have halted door to door field operations, in a democracy, the vote must go on.  Voting by mail remains the safest and most common sense option: Americans should be able to exercise their civic voice without putting their health, or the health of others, at risk. It was chilling last Tuesday evening to watch voters queued in long lines across Michigan and North Dakota, while cable news scrolls below delivered news of dozens of colleges sending students home for the semester. Yes, the election remains seven months away, but there are no good estimates on how long the nation may be disrupted. Some medical experts have warned that even if conditions improve during warmer summer months, the virus could still return in the fall.

Arizona: Court stops Maricopa County Recorder from sending ballots to all voters for Tuesday election | Dillon Rosenblatt/Arizona Capitol Times

A Superior Court judge has stopped Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes from sending ballots to all voters who aren’t on the early voters list for Tuesday’s Presidential Preference Election. Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed suit Friday for the emergency order after the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said Fontes disobeyed their orders to not mail out the ballots. “The Maricopa County Recorder cannot unilaterally rewrite state election laws,” Brnovich said in a press release. “Fontes is creating chaos in our elections during an already difficult time. In times of crisis, the public looks to our elected officials to follow the law – not make reactionary decisions for political gain.” Hobbs wrote a letter to Fontes this afternoon calling his actions illegal. “I want to reiterate what I communicated to you on the phone this morning,” Hobbs wrote. “My Office’s position is that you do not have legal authority at this stage to mail a ballot to all voters who have not requested one. The lack of an express statutory prohibition is irrelevant. If your view were correct, counties apparently have had authority to conduct countywide all-mail elections all this time.”

Georgia: Presidential primary delayed until May due to coronavirus | Greg Bluestein and Mark Niesse/Atlanta Journal Constitution

Georgia elections officials postponed the presidential primary scheduled for next week because of the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the second state forced to push back a vote in the race for the White House due to the outbreak. The state rescheduled the presidential vote previously scheduled for March 24 until May 19, the same date as the regular primary for a U.S. Senate seat and many other offices, elections officials told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Saturday. “Events are moving rapidly and my highest priority is protecting the health of our poll workers, their families, and the community at large,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Early voting for president ended a week early on Saturday and will resume April 27. Louisiana on Friday pushed back its April 4 primary to June 20. All votes already cast will be counted in May.  More than 279,000 Georgians cast ballots during two weeks of early voting in the contest, which features a matchup between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic ballot and President Donald Trump as the lone contender on the GOP ticket.

Louisiana: State postpones Democratic primary over coronavirus, the first state to do so | Jacob Pramuk/CNBC

Louisiana will postpone its presidential primaries set for next month, becoming the first state to take the step as fears about the coronavirus outbreak spread. The state will push its presidential nominating contests back to June 20 from the planned date of April 4, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin announced Friday. It has also delayed its municipal elections until July 25. “We want to protect the health and safety of all Louisianans by doing our part to prevent the spread of this highly infectious disease,” Ardoin told reporters.  As the global pandemic upends American life, it has also ground pivotal 2020 presidential campaign operations to a near halt.

New York: Officials Weigh Delaying April Primary Election Due to Coronavirus Outbreak | Stephanie Saul and Nick Corasaniti/The New York Times

New York officials are considering plans to postpone the state’s presidential primary election in April as fears over the coronavirus outbreak grow and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned against gatherings of more than 50 people. Douglas A. Kellner, co-chair of the New York State Board of Elections, confirmed on Sunday that discussions were underway about the possibility of delaying the primary from April 28 to June 23 in the interest of containing the virus’s spread, but he added that no final decision had been reached. The decision ultimately would rest with the governor and the State Legislature, he said in an interview. The discussions are underway as two states — Louisiana and Georgia — have already postponed their primaries and other states are weighing various delays or mail-in balloting measures to protect the public from exposure to the illness. Democratic Party officials in Puerto Rico, a United States territory, said they would request a postponement of their primary from March 29 to April 26. “The safety of every citizen is paramount,” the party said in a news release Sunday.

Tennessee: ‘Complex’ process ahead for new Shelby County voting machines | Bill Dries/The Daily Memphian

The Shelby County Election Commission is working toward a debut of new voting machines when early voting begins in July for the Aug. 6 election, but the commission still must select a  specific system. “The process is winding its way through purchasing. It’s a pretty complex project. It has many moving parts,” Shelby County elections administrator Linda Phillips said on The Daily Memphian Politics Podcast. “We can’t get the new machines until we have a place to put the old machines and get rid of them,” she said. “In moving to paper, we then have to have secure storage. So there have to be modifications to our warehouse. There are a lot of moving parts to this project, and we are doing it as fast as we can.” Whatever system the commission picks will involve the use of paper ballots in some way – either paper ballots that are marked by the voter or a printout of choices a voter makes on updated touchscreen machines. In both cases, the paper ballots would be run through a digital scanner and go into a ballot box as an audit trail.

France: French people urged to vote in local elections amid coronavirus lockdown | Kim Willsher/The Guardian

French voters were urged to turn out to vote in the first round of municipal elections, hours after a national shutdown of all non-essential shops and services. Polling stations opened on Sunday as planned despite calls for the two-round vote to be postponed as the coronavirus spread. On Saturday evening, the prime minister, Édouard Philippe, announced the country was moving into stage 3 of its response to the coronavirus emergency and ordered a partial lockdown, including the closure of cafés, bars, restaurants and cinemas. Food shops, tobacconists, pharmacies and public transport will remain open, Philippe said, but transport ministers warned services would be reduced to a minimum this week to try to contain the spread of the virus. French schools and colleges have shut down indefinitely and people are advised to work from home where possible and avoid unnecessary journeys. The decision to shut down non-essential public places came as France reported 4,499 confirmed cases, including 91 deaths, according to the national health agency, Santé Publique France.

United Kingdom: Ministers will no longer claim ‘no successful examples’ of Russian interference | Dan Sabbagh/The Guardian

Ministers have been told they can no longer say there have been “no successful examples” of Russian disinformation affecting UK elections, after the apparent hacking of an NHS dossier seized on by Labour during the last campaign. The dropping of the old line is the first official admission of the impact of Kremlin efforts to distort Britain’s political processes, and comes after three years of the government’s refusal to engage publicly with the threat. Cabinet Office sources confirmed the position been quietly changed while an investigation into the alleged hacking of the 451-page cache of emails from a special adviser’s personal email account by the security services concludes. Boris Johnson and his predecessor as prime minister, Theresa May, have both appeared reluctant to discuss Kremlin disinformation, with Johnson refusing to allow a report on Russian infiltration in the UK to be published before the election.

Wyoming: Democrats suspend in-person voting for caucuses as election officials face coronavirus fears | Hannah Knowles and John Wagner/The Washington Post

The Wyoming Democratic Party says it is suspending the in-person part of its April 4 presidential caucuses as election officials around the country confront the risk of the novel coronavirus. The party said on Facebook that it is also suspending all county conventions. “Our priority is ensuring that people are healthy and safe,” party chair Joe Barbuto said in a statement. “Holding public events right now would put that in jeopardy, so this is the responsible course of action.” Voters are being encouraged to vote by mail, the party said, adding that, as of now, ballot drop-off locations will be open on March 28 and April 4. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by March 20. Louisiana leaders on Friday announced they are delaying the state’s primary until the summer, while election officials in the four states slated to hold primaries Tuesday — Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio — said in a joint statement that they remain confident voters can “safely and securely cast their ballots in this election.” They encouraged “otherwise healthy” poll workers to carry out their duties.