March 17 Primaries: What You Need to Know
Will COVID-19 affect your vote?
by Axios | 3.17.20
Three states are set to move forward with primaries today, even as the coronavirus pandemic shuts down schools, restaurants and large gatherings across the world.
Why it matters: Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden are competing for votes in Arizona, Florida and Illinois and their total trove of 664 delegates. But Ohio has declared a public health emergency, postponing the primaries because of concerns about COVID-19.
- Biden has a chance to run up his delegate count against Sanders.
- Sanders' chance at the nomination will be at serious risk if he can't muster a significant turnaround today. He currently needs 57% of the remaining delegates to win the nomination.
- Tulsi Gabbard also remains in the race.
The delegate count so far:
- Biden: 889 delegates
- Sanders: 739 delegates
- Gabbard: 2 delegates
Polls close at 8 p.m. ET in
- Arizona, which has 79 delegates
- Florida, which has 248 delegates
Polls close at 9 p.m. ET in
- Illinois, which has 184 delegates
The state of play: Biden hasn't relinquished the momentum he gained when he won decisively in South Carolina early this month, followed by a strong showing on Super Tuesday and in the March 10 primaries.
- Biden is likely to continue his streak. He is the overwhelming favorite in polls in all four states, per FiveThirtyEight.
- Top elections officials in Arizona, Illinois, and Florida have said they are confident "that voters in our states can safely and securely cast their ballots in this election."
- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tweeted late Monday that the state health commissioner had declared a health emergency and ordered Ohio polls closed. A judge had ruled earlier in the day that the primaries could proceed as scheduled on Tuesday.
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