Joe Biden secured major wins Tuesday and began to expand his delegate lead over Bernie Sanders with victories in Florida, Illinois and Arizona.
Voters in those three states moved forward with their presidential primaries on Tuesday, while Ohio postponed its election over concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.
Additional states have also postponed their primaries that were scheduled to happen in the coming weeks.
In Ohio, where a primary was scheduled, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday night that polls will be closed because of a health emergency. The Ohio health director issued the order.
Tuesday's elections come after Louisiana, Georgia and Kentucky — all slated to vote in the coming weeks — have postponed their elections, citing risks to voters and poll workers with in-person voting posed by the virus.
Biden took a measured approach as he celebrated his primary wins.
The former vice president said Tuesday that wins in Florida and Illinois made it a "good night." At the time he spoke, votes were still being cast and counted in Arizona.
But Biden spent most of a brief address confronting the coronavirus and the national quasi-quarantine that had him speaking online rather than at a raucous rally with supporters.
"It's moments like these we realize we need to put politics aside and work together as Americans," Biden said. "The coronavirus doesn't care if you're a Democrat or Republican... We're all in this together."
Biden nodded to Sanders and his supporters, saying they "have shifted the fundamental conversation in this country." To the youngest voters, he added: “I hear you. I know what's at stake.”
Delegates at stake: 67
Polls closed at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET (not everywhere within the state observes daylight saving time)
Joe Biden has won Arizona’s Democratic presidential primary.
The state's top election official had declined to seek a delay because of the coronavirus, saying there was no certainty that putting off voting would help.
Most of the 1.2 million registered Arizona Democrats cast ballots early by mail, but about 300,000 could vote in person Tuesday. According to figures obtained by The Associated Press, turnout among Democrats had already surpassed the 2016 election. Over 480,000 votes had been cast by Tuesday morning.
Delegates at stake: 219
Polls closed at 7 p.m. ET (but due to the Florida Panhandle's time zone, those polls were open until 8 p.m. ET)
Joe Biden has won Florida’s Democratic presidential primary.
Voters in Florida cast ballots Tuesday even as officials sought to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
State health officials had been working with local election supervisors to ensure polling locations are safe and clean, and some precincts at nursing homes and senior centers had been moved.
In Palm Beach County, elections officials say many workers failed to show up in at least five locations.
Nearly 2 million Floridians voted early or by mail.
Delegates at stake: 155
Polls closed at 8 p.m. ET
Joe Biden has won Illinois’ Democratic presidential primary.
Officials declined to postpone the election despite concerns about low turnout because of the coronavirus outbreak.
There were some signs of early confusion, with voters calling a hotline to get help finding polling places.
In Chicago, about 50 polling sites opened late. Election authorities scrambled to find alternate locations as nursing homes and other typical polling sites backed out amid concern about the coronavirus. A Chicago elections official and Gov. J.B. Pritzker traded accusations about who was to blame for the problems.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday that his state would not postpone its elections.
"We have to have our elections continue ... this is the right thing to do, our democracy needs to go on; we need to elect leaders; if we canceled these elections when would you have an election?" the governor told reporters at a daily news conference.
The governor said the state was "taking every precaution" at polling locations, saying voting machines would be wiped down after a person votes, and there will be plenty of hand sanitizer for people to use.
Earlier in the day, the governor mandated that any gathering of 50 or more people be canceled in the state. Even with that new order, the governor said, "I feel good about the decision to have the election go on."
Delegates at stake: 136
In Ohio, a saga has played out over whether voters would head to the polls because of the coronavirus outbreak. On Monday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine requested that a court move the election to June because of the outbreak. A judge denied DeWine's request. Then, late Monday, the governor said Ohio Health Director Amy Acton would order the polls closed because of a health emergency.
Acton issued the order Monday night. Early Tuesday morning, Ohio's Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the state's move to close the polls.
Prior to the order, these were some of the steps the state took to address the outbreak:
- The state had encouraged early voting, which ended Monday at 2 p.m. ET. Vote by mail needed to be postmarked by Monday.
- Due to COVID-19, Ohio's secretary of state ordered counties to accept curbside absentee ballot drop-off during voting hours on Tuesday.
- Ohio relocated about 150 polling places away from senior living facilities in at least 35 counties across the state.
- The state worked with advocacy groups and political parties, using traditional and social media to get the word out about polling location changes.
- Counties were to work with the original locations to allow people who live in those facilities to cast absentee ballots on Election Day.
- Schools, although closed for classes, were to be used as voting locations.
- Ohio was actively recruiting younger, healthier poll workers in case large numbers of the typically older poll workers dropped out. The state allegedly had just under 35,000 volunteers total. At least 2,000 new volunteers had signed up in the past five days.
- Ohio uses touchscreen voting machines which would have needed to be cleaned regularly between voters. The state said it would reimburse all county boards of elections for the purchase of disinfectants and sanitizing materials. A northeastern Ohio-based company that makes sanitizing products was providing products to four large counties.
- Ohio had the most detailed "COVID19 Primary Plan," with a frequently updated website dedicated solely to coronavirus changes and questions.
Hearst TV contributed to this report.