Johnson urges governor to move May election to August

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Ruth Johnson on Monday sent a letter to the governor urging her to reconsider her decision not to postpone the May 5 election and to combine it with the August election so clerks have time to prepare and protect election workers and the public.

“Election workers handling the ballots from thousands of voters presents unique risks as studies have shown the virus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours,” said Johnson, R-Holly. “This virus is highly contagious, and continuing with a May 5 election puts election workers, canvassers and the public at extreme risk. Given the extended federal guidelines and the drastic increase in Michigan COVID-19 cases and deaths, I urge the governor to reconsider holding the May election as scheduled.”

Johnson’s March 30 letter is in response to Executive Order No. 2020-27 directing jurisdictions in Michigan to proceed with their scheduled May 5, 2020 elections.

On March 18, Johnson sent the governor a letter encouraging her to consider cancellation of all scheduled May elections and postponing the ballot questions until August due to the COVID-19 state of emergency.

When Johnson sent her initial letter, Michigan had just experienced its first confirmed death from COVID-19. That number has now increased to 184 deaths, including 52 in the last 24 hours. Michigan has also gone from two confirmed cases 20 days ago to 6,498 today.

At least 14 other states, including neighboring Indiana and Ohio, have already postponed their scheduled elections past May 5.

“I reiterate my strong concerns for the safety of our election workers, many of whom are senior citizens and particularly vulnerable to our current health risks from the novel coronavirus pandemic,” said Johnson, chair of the Senate Elections Committee and former Michigan secretary of state. “Consolidating the scheduled May elections with August will help to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our election workers and Michigan voters.”

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