Mar 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

DNC chair urges states to expand voting options amid coronavirus outbreak

Tom Perez. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez on Tuesday advised states to expand mail-in and early-voting options amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, The Hill reports.

Where it stands: The Trump administration implored people not to gather in groups greater than 10, and lawmakers nationwide are encouraging citizens to remain in their homes to prevent contracting or spreading COVID-19. Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana and Puerto Rico have pushed back their originally scheduled primary dates, as Florida, Illinois and Arizona move forward as planned with Tuesday's primaries.

"The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy, and we must do everything we can to protect and expand that right instead of bringing our democratic process to a halt."
— Tom Perez in a statement
  • The DNC has rules in place that cut delegate totals in half for any state that does not complete its primary by June 9, per The Hill.

The state of play: Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders are the only two major Democratic contenders left in the race. Biden maintains a strong delegate lead.

  • "The coronavirus also could amplify calls for Sanders to drop out of the race, especially if Biden comes out of Tuesday night’s primaries in an even stronger position," Jesse Lehrich, a Democratic operative, told AP.

Go deeper

March 17 primaries: What you need to know

Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

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: 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.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden projected to win Florida primary

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden is projected to win the Democratic primary in Florida, according to AP.

Why it matters: The Florida primary offers the most delegates of the three states voting on Tuesday, with 219 out of 441 delegates up for grabs. Illinois and Arizona are also voting today.

Biden sweeps first primaries since coronavirus declared national emergency

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden has won the Florida, Arizona and Illinois Democratic primaries, giving him what is increasingly becoming an insurmountable delegate lead over Bernie Sanders.

Why it matters: The contests on Tuesday marked the first round of state primaries since President Trump declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic. Sanders and Biden have canceled rallies and traditional outreach efforts in order to stop the spread of the virus.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy