Louisiana Postpones April Primary as 4 More States Prepare to Vote on Tuesday

Mar 13, 2020 · 68 comments
Patrick (NYC)
Louisiana postpones the Democratic primary for two months. The DNC should always put their primary the day before Fat Tuesday next time. You won’t see the Republican governor postponing Mardi Gras so he will have no excuse to postpone the primary.
pcox (shreveport, la)
As a resident of the most corrupt state in the union, I know first hand how Louisiana loves to manipulate the voting here. First in mass incarceration and last in quality of life. Will it ever change--the 12th of never.
Easy Goer (Louisiana)
Same here. I am white. In April, 1976, I was 21 years old. Without ever having received so much as a parking ticket, I was sentenced to 3 years at hard labor (and I do mean hard) in prison for less than $90 worth of marijuana. The local city population was predominately white. When I arrived in my dormitory, there were 29 men: 26 black and 3 white (I made the 4th). I will never forget things I saw in there. Cruel and heartless things. I am tall and thin. One man in my dorm had never been to school or lifted weights. He was not overweight; simply very, very strong. I saw him lift the front end of a large Ford tractor about 18" off the ground, and held it for at least 10 seconds. His arms were larger than my thighs. He was a 39 year old black man who was illiterate. Also, the father of 9 children. I wrote a letter to his wife. He wept. I saw 2 very young men (kids, really) that were gang raped. They ran and were shot in the back with a 12 gauge shotgun by guards on horseback. Shot again. They were waiting for their trials; not even found guilty of a crime. Fortunately, I can get along with basically anyone. I was playing poker the first night with 7 black men. The white guys were stunned. My point is this state is very corrupt and racist. So are all other cities in which I have lived. However, this state is the worst of the worst.
Sue Abrams (Oregon)
It's time for America to move to the voting system Oregon has pioneered for over 20 years. We have a 100% vote by mail and we have automatic voter registration. It couldn't be easier to Vote in Oregon. In fact, we are rated number 1 for ease in voting. No lines, no hassle and no chance of contamination. Plus it has saved the state millions of dollars and we have one of the highest rates of voter turnout. Democracy is alive and well in Oregon
t (Austin)
Seattle votes by mail . I loved that while living there. All states should do so .. more honest .
Hugh Briss (Climax, VA)
Joe Biden's momentum may have more to do with Louisiana's Secretary of State (a Republican) deciding to postpone the primary than the coronavirus.
George S. (NY & LA)
While we all need to be cautious and exercise a reasonable degree of social distancing I applaud those States who've opted to go forward with Tuesday's primaries. If it's one thing we need to do now it's remain an open, even if cautious, democratic society. Voting officials can take reasonable steps to ensure voters can remain safe while exercising their franchise. Even though our lives have to be altered to some degree, they need to go on.
James (Ireland)
Why don’t Bernie and Klobuchar drop out of the race. That way they wouldn’t need to endanger people by holding elections.
Bruce Thomson (Tokyo)
The down-ballot offices still need to be voted on.
George S. (NY & LA)
@James Amy dropped her candidacy a couple of weeks ago and endorsed Joe Biden.
James (Ireland)
Thanks George & Bruce. I don’t understand the American system.
Alison (California)
What makes Louisiana think things will be better two months later into the pandemic? Why not just vote by mail for everyone?
Farina (Puget Sound)
Time to move to optical scan vote by mail. It’s good enough for the west coast, it’s good enough for the nation.
Chuck (CA)
Modern states in the US....they have been rapidly moving toward absentee and mail-in balloting in elections and primaries. Early voting too.... you know.. to prevent election day polling bottle necks and to accommadate working voters. BUT....apparently Louisiana still lives in the stone age, where voters must appear in person, with hammer and chisel in hand to strike their mark on a big stone wall so Louisiana poll workers can count scratches on said wall. Note to Louisiana... you wasted all these weeks sitting on your thumbs while the virus spread across the world.. and your only response now is to delay the primary and fall on the ground in the fetal position. Well played Louisiana.
smarty's mom (NC)
I expect Trump to "indefinitely delay" the Nov. election
tom harrison (seattle)
Its too bad ya'all don't live here in Washington where we vote by mail. No lines, no standing in November weather waiting to get in, no dubious machines, no intimidating goons trying to scare you off, no trying to get there after a hard day at work. Nope, I just pack a bowl, put on some Zappa, make a latte with home roasted Ethiopian coffee and oat milk, and sit at my desk taking my time going through every single levy and office candidate. I typically spend a couple of hours going through it all stopping in the middle to do some more research or make some more coffee. I vote in whatever I want to wear and never feel anxious that lots of folks wish I would just pull the lever already and let them in. And if I want to vote in the middle of the night - no problem! Why do you still stand in line?
bluegirlredstate (PNW)
Mail in voting. Washington state has mail in voting so does Oregon and Colorado. Or you could make everyone vote by absentee ballot if states can't be set up in time. I'm sure every state has absentee ballot voting.. even Idaho.
HRaven (NJ)
@bluegirlredstate New Jersey also has mail-in voting.
Mary M (Brooklyn)
We should have testing facilities at voting booths You vote—you get tested
George S. (NY & LA)
@Mary M In a sense this sounds like a good idea. But only so long as the testing is after voting and is solely voluntary. To require testing in order to vote is actually a form of a Poll Tax one of the most pernicious ways of suppressing voter participation. Life is complicated, isn't it?
UrbanRider (Portland, OR)
If Bernie would do the right thing and drop out now, and endorse Biden, then the remaining primaries wouldn't be a problem. Bernie is mathematically eliminated, yet he persists.
Bill (DC)
@UrbanRider Over half of the country has not even voted yet and Biden still needs ~1150 delegates while Bernie needs ~1250. While Biden is obviously heavily favored acting like Bernie is mathematically eliminated is absurd. Remember that three weeks ago Bernie was projected to win in almost every single state in the country.
George S. (NY & LA)
@Bill Yes, but three weeks ago Bernie was riding high on the basis of two caucus states (IA and NV) and one primary from his neighboring state of NH. The Super Tuesday I came along and with it a significant number of African-American voters. Voters who are a key Democratic Party constituency and who overwhelmingly supported Joe Biden and virtually rejected Bernie Sanders. Come November Democrats are going to have to rely heavily upon active, enthusiastic participation of African-Americans to beat Trump. No it's not yet a matter of mathematical elimination, albeit it soon will be. Right now it's a matter of Bernie deciding whether his end goal is to beat Donald Trump or simply to assuage his own ego by dragging this out.
jhanzel (Glenview)
Illinois is closing ALL schools - 2 million kids - starting Tuesday. This is getting really complicated, and I wouldn't go long on the stock markets over the weekend.
Curious (NY)
Could Trump cancel the Nov. election? Britain postponed theirs. Could that happen here too?
David (Connecticut)
It is insane to be holding elections while this is going on. What is the harm in postponing these for 6 weeks to let this pandemic die down.
carl bumba (mo-ozarks)
As a Bernie supporter I'd be pleased to see everything bumped back a couple months. Time is not really on Joe Biden's side.
tom harrison (seattle)
@carl bumba - lol, I'm a Bernie supporter as well but time is not on Joe's, Bernie's or Donald's side. Or even Elizabeth's for that matter.
carl bumba (mo-ozarks)
@tom harrison Or your's and mine. But Joe.... he's going fast.
George S. (NY & LA)
@carl bumba Thank you for picking up on the Trump campaign meme regarding Joe Biden's presumed demise. Trump's reelection will ensure that everything your beloved Bernie stands for comes to naught.
Almost Can’t Take It Anymore (California)
All state Registrars of Voters should be planning NOW to have mail in ballots sent to everyone on the rolls. Don’t wait til September to talk about this!
J (The Great Flyover)
What happens if this thing is not contained as Nov 3 approaches? A postponed election? Frightening, eh?
Patricia (Washington (the State))
VOTE. BY. MAIL!!! Call up Washington and the other States that do it, copy what they're doing, and get the ballots out. We've got to get this figured out and in place before November, to be ready when the "State of Emergency In Chief" tries to postpone the election, thanks to his FABulous new powers!
Brynniemo (Ann Arbor)
Purell and wipedowns dont help when the virus is transmitted by respiration. Holding the primaries March 4 is irresponsible
Joe (California)
I don't believe Louisiana is doing this to protect the public. I think Louisiana is a very conservative state that wants to mess with an orderly Democratic primary season. Otherwise it would close the doors to a lot more than elections. Like, the grocery stores, for example, where virtually the whole public gathers.
Bridget Boustany (Lafayette LA)
The Democratic governor of the state closed all schools until April 13. I think to immediately politicize a move to delay elections is pretty low. Yes, they may not be as modern as some other states, but to play politics with a decision aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19–especially in the urban areas around New Orleans where most of the current cases are—is just petty.
Maria (Berkeley, CA)
Ropbert Harrison needs help putting his mask snugly over his noe AND mouth; otherwise it's ineffective.
Socrates (Downtown Verona. NJ)
What a wonderful way to supercharge the pandemic and spread the virus. “We have plenty of Purell hand sanitizer available. The poll workers are being asked and encouraged to wear gloves.” Poll workers will be wiping down voting booths “as they can.” Oy vay.
John Doe (Johnstown)
@Socrates. If you prefer I’m sure you can have yours mailed to you.
Prudence Spencer (Portland)
Vote by mail
John Doe (Johnstown)
Another Democratic primary in another southern state .... oh, gee, who’s going to win that.
Patrick (NYC)
@John Doe Not the one Trump wants to win.
Akhenaton (Silicon Valley)
It is the pinnacle of irresponsibility to hold any elections at this time. Look at the 1918 Pandemic and its effects in St. Louis (took strong action to contain spread) and Philadelphia (didn't take much action). St. Louis was prudent; Philadelphia irresponsible. As a result, there were many, many, many more deaths in Philadelphia. This virus spreads easier and the death toll may be 10 times more or greater.
Alison (California)
@Akhenaton My father enlisted in WWII to fight fascism at the peril of his life. I can certainly go to the polls to fight our fascists at the peril of mine.
George S. (NY & LA)
@Akhenaton Yes, let's make sure our already troubled democracy becomes a prime victim of Covid-19. In the US no one is required to vote. So if you want to stay home do so. But you shouldn't call for the disenfranchisement of any other voter. There's a long, ugly history of that in America as it is.
William Case (United States)
We should permanently cancel all political party primaries. The Constitution assigns political parties no role in government. If Republicans and Democrats want to find out which candidates their members prefer, let them pay for a telephone poll at their own expense. Not a dime of taxpayer money shill be spent on primary elections.
Professor Ben Smith (New York)
Its a complete lie that elections can be held safely. They simply dont care and want to get it over with. Tons of voters wont show up.
N. Smith (New York City)
@Professor Ben Smith Got any proof of that? Hard to believe what you're stating is true when almost EVERY report I've heard thus far suggests there was a higher voter turnout than expected in every state.
Les (Bethesda)
This is very dicey - it could really shift the voting to hold an election with the risk of the coronavirus. We know that in the Dem primary Biden is preferred by older voters and Sanders by younger. We know from the CDC that older folks are at much higher risk from disease. It is the farthest thing from wild speculation to think the elderly would be less likely to vote.
Cancel all elections for now. For Christs sake lets be cautious. There is no need to do things that aren't essential right now. Lets concentrate all our energies to keep people away from other people. Get it? Lets tell each other this until everyone knows this for sure. Social distancing. Stay away from other people. Everyone must do this. We are in this together.
@GB Voting IS essential.
wa (atlanta)
@GB vote by mail canceling election is a horrible idea
roark (Massachusetts)
I don't want to give Trump an excuse to somehow cancel elections until it is safe. It's like waiting for his tax return audit to finish up.
N. Smith (New York City)
Louisiana just postponed its primary. So the question now is how many more states will follow? And somehow I can't shake the creeping feeling that Donald trump will use this declaration of a State of Emergency into Martial Law. Someone please tell me that I'm wrong.
Nathan Hansard (Buchanan VA)
@N. Smith I certainly hope you are, but I find it difficult to say there is anything Trump wouldn't do, except of course start showing empathy for anyone or start telling the truth most of the time.
N. Smith (New York City)
@Nathan Hansard I hope I'm wrong too. But I still wouldn't put it past him to do anything to stay in office, and that includes using Martial Law to delay the election. After all, even his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, said he feared that if Trump wasn't reelected in 2020 there would be no peaceful transition. I don't see any reason to doubt him.
Blackmamba (Il)
I early voted in person last week in the Illinois primary at a local senior citizen community center. Why can't Louisiana get it's primary voting act together in a timely fashion?
LSamson (Florida)
I do not know about the other 3 Tuesday states, but early voting has been going on in Florida since last week and ends tomorrow or Sunday depending on the county. We poll workers have been extra vigilant about using the supplied wipes, purell, etc. Some poll workers have been excused from duty on Tuesday because of recent travel. . None of our election day sites are in schools or senior facilities (workers are sent with ballots and secure boxes to such places). Our Election supervisor and staff have done all possible to allow the primary to take place with safeguards. We will finish this primary Tuesday with no problem we hope.
Ignatz (Upper Ruralia)
Sanders, who admitted he is losing, needs to drop out NOW. That would make Biden the nominee, ALL primary's can and should be cancelled, and the Dems can pre-empt Putin's ( I mean Trump's ) attempt to end the most basic right of Americans, to vote. That is what this is about. I hope the GOP states who are trying to manipulate the vote remember that the Dems, who WILL be back in office, can do all the same things Trump is doing. I say if Sanders doesn't drop out, suspend ALL the primaries. By two months from now, the economy, NOT the stock market, will be in recession and we'll know who to blame. Most American's will have spent the 400.00 emergency fund they have saved (NOT).... Wall Street is NOT the economy.
Sasha (CA)
We need to institute Nationwide Mail In Ballots now. I do not understand why this hasn’t already been done. Plan now for November or the Election will be cancelled. How can you have people using touch screen voting machines in the middle of a Pandemic?
Deirdre (New Jersey)
LA shouldn’t postpone the vote without a clear plan to distribute mail in ballots Maybe if they had more polling precincts the lines would be shorter. Voter suppression efforts should not be rewarded or tolerated
Mathias (T)
I love living in a vote by mail state! No long lines, no poles closing early, no one coughing near me while I’m trying to fill my ballot out. I can vote at my convenience, drop my ballot off at any mailbox or ballot drop off box and get real time text message notifications when my ballot gets picked up and when my vote gets counted.
RFM (Seattle)
All states should vote by mail. Can’t even imagine going back in time to polling sites, long lines, etc. Totally unnecessary. But if you’re into voter suppression, what better way than messing around with can you vote (voter ID laws) how you vote, where you vote, when you vote. It’s painful looking at red states with large black populations and seeing all those long, long lines of black voters. How many red states with large black populations vote by mail? Go to a vote by mail system. Full stop.
John (Virginia)
I don’t see the need to expose so many to unnecessary exposure risk. It’s evident that Biden is going to be the Democratic nominee. Ending the primary process now could save lives.
r9000 (Los Angeles)
@John there are still half the delegates to be awarded which means that those voters' voices should be heard, do you not value democracy? They should postpone the primaries until April like Louisiana and send Vote by Mail ballots to every registered voter eligible to vote in the Democratic primary. In the meantime, we can listen to both Bernie and Biden and see who has the best proposals to overcome this pandemic.
Ignatz (Upper Ruralia)
@r9000 Good idea...but Bernie as much as concluded he can't win... But if he wants to continue, he should.
SM (United States)
@r9000 Undemocratically crowning Biden the nominee with half of states not yet voting would be bad for two reasons. First, the predetermined rules of the primary are that the candidate wins when they have 1,991 delegates. Biden currently has around 850 delegates. Allowing each state to vote democratically is essential to preserve party unity for the election in November. I find it funny that after Sanders' strong showings, the headlines read "Can Sanders Be Stopped?" and now the headlines suggest he should just drop out at mile 12 of the marathon. If Sanders is to lose, he must lose according to the votes of all the states, not just early ones. Then his supporters will be more likely to support Biden if he is the candidate on the November ballot. Second, the idea of favoring Biden to "save lives" is preposterous. A single-payer universal health-care system in the US would prevent more than 68,000 unnecessary deaths, according to the calculations of epidemiologists from the Yale School of Public Health, University of Florida, and University of Maryland School of Medicine. Biden stated just a few days ago that he would veto a Medicare for All bill. That means by choosing him over Sanders, 68,000 unnecessary deaths will happen.
John (Chicago)
Trump Finally declared a state of emergency. So when funding is allocated, Louisiana should set up sites for COVID-19 testing. When the state is fairly certain that voting will be safe then they can hold there primary. Trump needs to hear from the states about testing equipment. The WHO offered testing protocols but the US under Trump refused them. That's not how you keep Americans safe.
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