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Natchez aldermen unanimously agree to postpone primary city election to May 12

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen unanimously passed a resolution to postpone the City of Natchez municipal election dates to protect citizens from COVID-19.

The primary election had initially been scheduled for April 7.

The board agreed during a regularly scheduled meeting that was hosted via teleconference on Tuesday evening to postpone the primary election to May 12 and the run-off, if necessary, to June 2 and the general election to June 12.

City of Natchez Attorney Bob Latham said that in conversation he had with the election commission, election commissioner Robert Gardner agreed to postponing the election to those dates after a number of poll workers said they “were scared to work.”

Newly elected officials could still be sworn in on July 1 if the municipal elections are held on those dates, Latham said.

Emergency management director Robert Bradford said other states are continuing to hold elections with mitigation strategies in place, such as providing disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizers at the polls and only allowing a limited number of voters into the voting area at a time.

“We don’t want to stop people from voting,” Bradford said. “… We have the ability to wipe down the machines. … There are ways we can get it done.”

Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said the turnaround rate of getting COVID-19 test results is too slow and that by the time enough individuals are tested positive the virus may have already infected more people in the community.

“The only way to reduce the spread of this disease is to be proactive and not reactive,” Grennell said.

City officials agreed that postponing the election would allow more time to prepare mitigation measures to protect voters from contracting the virus even if more people test positive of the disease within the next month.