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COVID-19 Brings Havoc, Delays to Democratic Primary Vote

Updated: Apr 20, 2020 09:30
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Image: CNN, but with a filter on it

We are having an election literally in the middle of a pandemic, and 765 delegates worth of votes in the Democratic Primaries have had their primary dates moved back because of the coronavirus shutdowns and precautions. Now NBC reports that it’s entirely possible that “today’s Democratic presidential primaries in Arizona, Florida and Illinois will be the last ones for the next two months.” If you’re a Bernie supporter, it’s important to realize that no matter today’s primary outcome, the number of delegates that have been moved back and delayed is more than enough to make up Sanders’ current 162-delegate deficit. 

As FiveThirtyEight points out, polling places are full of older people and the Coronavirus. That’s why many polling stations have closed, others are understaffed, and some states have postponed or moved their primaries, creating bizarre and unpredictable results for not only today’s March 17 primaries, but the whole remainder of the Dem Primary calendar.

Image: Tim Evanson via Flickr


This all happened in the last 24 hours! Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, whose popularity is based on resembling Ralphie from A Christmas Story, postponed today’s Ohio primary until June 2 at about 4:45 p.m. Ohio time on Monday. Around 9 p.m. last night, a judge overturned that decision and the primary was back on. Then at 1:30 a.m. this morning Ohio time, the state’s supreme court ruled that the polls would remain closed, and the Ohio primary will now be held June 2.

Image: greater umbrage via Flickr


The three very significant states of Florida, Illinois, and Arizona are still voting today. (Florida polls close at 4 p.m. PT, Illinois closes at 5 p.m. PT, and Arizona — which has two different time zones! — closes at both 6 and 7 p.m. PT.)

The three states said in a statement that “Americans have participated in elections during challenging times in the past, and based on the best information we have from public health officials, we are confident that voters in our states can safely and securely cast their ballots in this election, and that otherwise healthy poll workers can and should carry out their patriotic duties on Tuesday.” Ohio was originally in that statement too, but backed out and moved their primary.

A bunch of other states that vote after March 17 have moved their primaries back to a later date. Next week’s March 24 Georgia primary has been moved back to May 19. The March 29 Puerto Rico primary is probably being moved to to April 26 but that proposal is still in their Congress. Louisiana already moved their primary set for April 4 out to June 20. Wyoming kept their April 4 caucus but made in mail-in only. Kentucky moved theirs from May 19 to June 23. The state of New York is considering moving their primary from April 28 out to June 23, but has not made a final decision yet,

That’s a total of 765 delegates that have been moved back in this primary, so it’s definitely not over yet.


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