How is coronavirus affecting primaries? What about November’s general election?

Voters wearing protective masks, due the outbreak of coronavirus disease, walk past election official Brianna Peterson after voting in the municipal and presidential primary elections at their polling center in St. Petersburg, Florida March 17, 2020. Credit: REUTERS/Steve Nesius.

An election is still going on amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Former Vice President Joe Biden won all three states that held primaries on Tuesday: Florida, Illinois and Arizona.  

He delivered his victory speech from his home in Delaware — over a live-stream: “I want to thank all the public officials and poll workers who worked closely with public health authorities to ensure safe opportunities for voting, to clean and disinfect voting booths, and make sure voters could cast their ballots while maintaining the distance from one another. … You know it’s important for us to get through this public crisis to protect public health and our democracy.” 

Ohio was also supposed to hold its primary on Tuesday, but officials called it off earlier this week, just hours before polls were set to open. 

In the states that did hold primaries, there was a lot of confusion. In Florida and Illinois, hundreds of precincts had to be relocated at the last minute, and many poll workers refused to show up. 



  • Rick Hasen - professor of law and political science at UC Irvine; co-director of the Fair Elections and Free Speech Center - @rickhasen