ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Gov. Larry Hogan has decided postponed the April 28 primary in Maryland due to the coronavirus pandemic. The primary will be postponed to June 2.
Early voting will be held from May 21 to May 28.
Hogan said he wants to keep Marylanders safe and keep their constitutional right to vote.
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On Monday, the governor announced that any gatherings with 50 or more people are no prohibited across the state.
"It would endanger public health to allow thousands of people to assemble in places like schools and senior centers, which are already closed due to the state of emergency," Hogan said.
He said the primary would put poll workers and election judges at risk, and most are already among the most at-risk population to contract COVID-19.
"I'm directing the state board of elections to come up with a plan by April 3 to conduct the primary in a way that protects public health," Hogan said.
The special election to fill the vacancy left by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings in Maryland's 7th congressional district will still be held on April 28 by mail-in voting.
"It is imperative that people of the 7th congressional district have a voice in the House of Representatives," Hogan said, "and that Maryland has a full delegation representing us in Congress."
The 7th district covers portions of Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County.
Ballots will be sent to eligible voters starting later this month. The ballots must be postmarked by April 28, 2020.
The state board of elections sent out a statement following the governor's announcement:
"The Maryland State Board of Elections fully supports the actions taken by Governor Hogan today. Our highest priority is to deliver a safe election environment for voters and election workers while also ensuring the fundamental right to vote. The actions announced today are critical to fulfilling that goal. Effective immediately, SBE and Maryland's local boards of elections are implementing the requirements set forth by Governor Hogan for the primary election and special general election in the 7th Congressional District.
"Maryland relies on thousands of election workers every election cycle, and their health and wellness is critical. We strongly encourage all Marylanders, especially those over the age of 60, to follow guidelines from the State of Maryland and the Centers for Disease Control that are designed to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19. Following public health guidelines will position Maryland's election workforce to deliver the safest and most secure primary election possible."
"Lastly, any voter who wishes to cast their ballot by mail in the primary election may do so. Submit a request online by visiting https://www.elections.maryland.gov and clicking the 'Request a Ballot' box or obtaining a request form from elections.maryland.gov/voting/absentee.html."
The state elections board said they are trying to determine which polling locations are available and if they will need to change locations.
Any voter can also request an absentee ballot. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is May 26, 2020 if you want the ballot by mail or May 29. 2020 if you want the ballot electronically. Ballots must be postmarked by June 2.
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