Georgia Primary Postponed, Frustrating First-Time Voters It was supposed to be primary day in Georgia on Tuesday. Students and youth organizers in states with delayed elections are feeling frustration and determination in their fight to boost turnout.
NPR logo

Virus Puts Democracy On Hold For First-Time Voters

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/820441791/820957303" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Virus Puts Democracy On Hold For First-Time Voters

Virus Puts Democracy On Hold For First-Time Voters

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/820441791/820957303" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Georgia's primary elections were originally set for today, but it's among a handful of states that have delayed voting due to public health concerns. For a lot of young voters in those states, their first opportunity to cast a vote for president is now on hold, too. NPR's Elena Moore talked to a few of them.

ELENA MOORE, BYLINE: Jaylan Scott is a sophomore at Georgia State University. He was in the middle of planning an upcoming event for the Young Democrats of Georgia when he found out his state's primary was postponed.

JAYLAN SCOTT: It was pretty much a shocker for me. It was a shocker for everybody.

MOORE: At the Ohio State University, freshman Maggie Kaniecki is a member of the College Democrats. Her state's primary delay was a disappointment more than anything else.

MAGGIE KANIECKI: I understand why, and it does make sense from, like, a health standpoint. But it is disheartening.

MOORE: A lot of first-time voters are on college campuses. As these politically active students pack up their things, they're stepping away from communities where they've been mobilizing other new voters. Leticia Nketiah is also a freshman at Ohio State.

LETICIA NKETIAH: I feel like being on a college campus, voting is, like, a whole different type of atmosphere. It's like we have to vote.

MOORE: Hundreds of miles away in Maryland, another state with a delayed primary, students are having similar conversations.

EVELINA SARAPI: We're still trying to keep the momentum going, you know, even from our rooms in our houses.

MOORE: That's Evelina Sarapi, a sophomore at Towson University and president of her school's College Democrats. They're still meeting once a week online. For Sarapi, the delay has an added weight.

SARAPI: I'm an immigrant. I got my citizenship three years ago. So that was something I was really looking forward to - voting for the first time in this country.

MOORE: Back in Georgia, Jaylan Scott worries the primary delay could hurt youth turnout, but he's planning ahead.

SCOTT: I believe that this gives us a lot more time to, you know, organize and mobilize and get even more people out to vote and also contact people who were going to vote before and just tell them, hey; if you haven't voted, it's time to go vote.

MOORE: Georgia's new primary date is set for May 19.

Elena Moore, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF KHRUANGBIN'S "MR WHITE")

Copyright © 2020 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.