As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes ,PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has disrupted communities and institutions around the world, and the 2020 presidential election isn’t immune either.
As Democratic voters across the country decide who should be the party’s nominee to run against President Donald Trump in November — former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are the leading contenders — state primaries in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio felt the impact of the coronavirus’ spread.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine made a last-minute push to preserve his state’s primary voting by declaring a “health emergency” late Monday and ordered polls to be closed on Tuesday after the Trump administration asked Americans earlier in the day to refrain from gathering in groups of more than 10 people.
The state’s Supreme Court upheld the Republican governor’s decision early Tuesday, likely delaying the primary until June.
“Logistically, under these extraordinary circumstances, it simply isn’t possible to hold an election tomorrow that will be considered legitimate by Ohioans,” DeWine tweeted in a lengthy thread Monday night. “They mustn’t be forced to choose between their health and exercising their constitutional rights.”
With Ohio’s change, 441 delegates are up for grabs Tuesday in Arizona, Florida and Illinois.
Those state contests were largely hindered Tuesday with low voter turnout amid the federal government’s recommendation that people stay home and practice “social distancing” to help stop the rate of new infections.
Biden, 77, led Sanders, 78, in polling in every state scheduled to vote Tuesday, according to polling averages by RealClear Politics.
The former vice president is the Democratic front-runner after he mounted a dramatic comeback over the past month and surpassed Sanders in the total delegate count, primary wins and polling numbers.
RELATED: Who Is Winning the Democratic Primary and How Many Delegates the Candidates Have
In Illinois, Chicago city officials told reporters they saw “extremely low turnout” on Tuesday morning and pushed for Gov. J.B. Pritzker to follow suit with Ohio and delay the primary.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city saw historic early voting numbers that could help total turnout numbers, but some residents reportedly said they never received their early voting ballots and didn’t feel comfortable risking a trip to the polls.
In Florida — a swing state in the 2020 general election — Democrats looked to show strong support for a candidate after Trump won in a tight contest there in 2016 with then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The state’s governor, Gov. Ron DeSantis, told reporters at a COVID-19 briefing over the weekend that “we’re definitely voting.”
“They voted during the Civil War,” he said, according to Politico. “We’re going to vote.”
Florida’s Secretary of State Laurel Lee told …read more