Democratic primary voters in Arizona, Florida and Illinois are braving the outdoors amid rising fears over coronavirus to hit the polls and cast their ballots.
Former Vice President Joe Biden leads Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in polling in all three states and Ohio, which postponed its Tuesday primary in an effort to stunt the pandemic’s growth.
In Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis said he believed the election could be run safely, Biden holds a considerable 39 percent lead over Sanders with 64.7 percent support, according to a Real Clear Politics average.
The Sunshine State, which has 219 delegates at stake, has faced some bumps in the road as primary day plows ahead.
The Palm Beach County elections department said workers did not show up in at least five polling locations. The county had 800 volunteers back out of their commitments by Monday and just 100 new volunteers offered to take their place.
The volunteer problem was worsened by the sudden relocation of 112 polling places in 22 counties due to some precincts being located at elderly care centers and other high-risk locations.
Biden is also polling ahead of the Democratic socialist in Illinois, the home state of former President Obama, where a Real Clear Politics average shows the moderate frontrunner with 60 percent support.
Illinois election officials scrambled to find alternate polling places last week as nursing homes and other precinct locations became untenable to host voters, but pushed for people to vote by mail and extended hours at early voting sites to get ballots cast before Tuesday.
There were 504,000 early votes and 294,000 mail ballots sent out to voters in the state as of Monday, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.
The number is a substantial increase from the 400,000 early votes cast until the day before the 2016 primary.
About 1.2 million registered Democrats in Arizona, where Biden leads Sanders by 18 points with 51.7 percent, according to a RCP polling average, cast their ballots early to avoid an increased risk from voting Tuesday.
About 300,000 people are eligible to vote in the state today who did not take advantage of early voting.
Maryland joined Ohio in postponing its primary in an effort to halt the spread, the state’s governor announced Tuesday.
“I have two main priorities — keeping Marylanders safe and protecting their constitutional right to vote,” Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said at a Tuesday press conference of his decision.
The election will be moved from April 28 to June 2, with early voting beginning on May 21 and running through May 28.
A vote in a special election for Rep. Elijah Cumming’s now-vacant House seat will still be scheduled for that April date, but will be mail-in only. Cummings died suddenly in October of last year due to complications from an ongoing health issue.
“We didn’t want to have people without representation for that long in that district,” Hogan said of his justification for still holding that contest.
Hogan told reporters that he is directing the state elections board to develop a “comprehensive plan” for conducting elections “in a way that protects public health and preserves the integrity of the Democratic process in our state.”
With Post wires