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Carney delays presidential primary, school board elections for the second time

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The presidential primary has been rescheduled for July 7.

Gov. John Carney on Thursday delayed Delaware’s presidential primary and the state’s school board elections for a second time.

The primary, originally scheduled for April 28 and then rescheduled for June 2, will now be held July 7.

“Delawareans have a basic, fundamental right to vote, and these changes will allow all Delaware voters to safely exercise that right,” Carney said in a prepared 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.”

Carney is encouraging Delawareans to vote by absentee ballot. Eligible voters will be permitted to select the “sick” or “temporarily or permanently physically disabled” options on their absentee ballot application, even if they are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

The number of polling places will be reduced, but each county will have at least six for voters who don’t want to vote absentee. Polling places will be limited to 10 people at any given time in order to comply with social distancing requirements.

The department of elections will proactively mail absentee ballot applications to all registered Democrats and Republicans. In order receive their actual ballot, voters must return the application no later than four days prior to the election.

School board elections, originally scheduled for May 12 and then rescheduled for June 16, will now be held July 21. Current school board members’ terms will be extended by a month, with new terms beginning Aug. 1.

Municipalities that have elections scheduled in the next month can still hold them as long as they abide by social distancing requirements. Newark’s April 14 city council election was delayed by Carney’s previous order and has not yet been rescheduled.

City Secretary Renee Bensley said the city is considering dates in July and early August. Council will discuss the dates at its meeting on May 26.

Carney’s order does not specifically mention school district referenda, such as the Christina School District referendum scheduled for June 9. A spokesman for the governor did not immediately respond to questions about whether the referendum can move forward as planned.

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