Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued an executive order postponing the state's local elections until May 19, he announced today.
The two-week postponement is the maximum that Northam is constitutionally allowed after the state Senate declined to delay the elections further.
“Elections are vital to democracy and so is the right to vote, but Virginians should not have to choose between their ballot and their health,” Northam said at news conference Friday.
The governor’s statewide stay-at-home order is currently set to expire on June 10, which means the election might happen while the state is still under lockdown. Northam strongly encouraged voters to use absentee ballots and drew a comparison to Wisconsin when expressing his frustration with the situation.
“The last thing that we want in Virginia is a scene like what we saw when Wisconsin held an election a few weeks ago. People waiting in line for hours, trying to social distance, just in order to vote,” Northam said.
The elections will decide local positions like mayors, town council members and school board members.