After the state senate rejected a proposal to delay local elections until November, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday he'll push back the elections by two weeks.
"Virginians should not have to choose between their ballot and their health," Northam said, noting this is the most he can do under state law.
It means most towns in Northern Virginia, as well as the city of Fairfax, will vote in-person May 19 instead of May 5.
Northam strongly encouraged residents to vote absentee by mail and said that the state will be using volunteers to assist local election officials to make voting in person as safe as possible.
Prince William County’s Office of Elections is preparing for voting in Haymarket, Occoquan and Quantico. In Fairfax County, officials are set to hold town elections in Vienna and Clifton. Fairfax City voters will select city council and school board members.
Northam moved Congressional primaries from June 9 until June 23.
Prince William’s election staff will have gloves, masks and hand sanitizer for staff and voters, Matt Wilson, the county's senior deputy registrar, told InsideNoVa earlier this week.
“In short, we have continued the usual flow of work that typically takes place during this time and should have no problem conducting the election,” Wilson said.
Gary Scott, elections director for Fairfax County, said Thursday that the county has mailed out about 2,100 absentee ballots in total, and 600 of those have been returned.
“Because of the large number of absentee ballots requested, we are not anticipating a high turnout at the polling places on election day,” he said.