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Indianapolis – Indiana political leaders said Friday that they decided to postpone the state’s May 5 primary because of concern about the coronavirus pandemic.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said during a news conference with the state GOP and Democratic chairmen that the Indiana primary will instead be held on June 2.

Holcomb said Thursday that he thought the primary should be delayed because he was concerned about the safety of county elections officials, polling site workers and voters. He said Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson was leading discussions with state political party leaders in an attempt to reach a consensus.

Neighboring Ohio and Kentucky are among at least seven other states that have postponed their primaries, and others are considering increased voting by mail.

Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody and Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer wrote a joint letter to the state elections commission last week asking for it to relax the rules for requesting mail-in absentee ballots.

Indiana has no challenged races for statewide elected offices in this year’s primary and it is uncertain whether the Democratic presidential race will remain undecided. Multiple candidates are seeking nominations for congressional seats being given up by Democratic Rep. Pete Visclosky and Republican Rep. Susan Brooks.

Health officials said Friday that Indiana had recorded 23 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That brought the state’s overall total to 79, including two patients who died.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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