Home » Economy » Coronavirus pandemic casts pall over Democratic primary as states postpone votes
Coronavirus pandemic casts pall over Democratic primary as states postpone votes
Postponing Florida primary isn’t a bad idea: Miami mayor
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, (R), says he suspects there are thousands of people in his community who have coronavirus but haven’t been tested yet.
The Democratic presidential primary is consumed with uncertainty after leaders in Ohio called off Tuesday's election just hours before polls were set to open, citing the need to combat the new coronavirus. Officials in Florida, Arizona and Illinois said they would move forward with the vote.
Continue Reading Below
Not since New York City postponed its mayoral primary on the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has an election been pushed off in such a high-profile, far-reaching way. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine initially asked a court to delay the vote, and when a judge refused to do so the state's health director declared a health emergency that would prevent the polls from opening.
The decision was a reminder that the most elemental act of American democracy — voting — will be severely tested Tuesday as several states hold presidential primaries while also confronting the impact of a global pandemic. The contests are playing out as the virus' impact is becoming more tangible with schools closing across the country, workers staying home and restaurants and bars shuttering.
The U.S. stock market on Monday plunged to its worst day in more than three decades.
The rapidly shifting developments amounted to a kind of chaos rarely seen in an election season. And it may not end soon as some states that have presidential contests in the coming weeks have already moved to postpone them and others were being pressed to follow.
WILL CORONAVIRUS CRISIS GIVE BIDEN THE UPPER HAND IN NOVEMBER?
"These are unusual restrictions," Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, said of recommended federal limits to try and control the spread of the virus. Her group is urging the delay of that state's 2020 presidential primary from April 28 to June 23, when congressional and legislative primaries are already scheduled.
“Normally, we do not support postponing elections, but these are extraordinary circumstances," Lerner said.
Campaigns spent Monday sifting through data and talking to contacts on the ground to assess the impact of the coronavirus on turnout in places that will hold elections Tuesday. Former Vice President Joe Biden is moving closer to securing the Democratic presidential nomination but could face a setback if the older voters who tend to support him don't show up. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, can't afford to lose support from young voters who have been his most loyal supporters.