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Coronavirus Is About to Shut Down the Democratic Primary for Months

WASHINGTON — The U.S. election is about to go mostly dark — possibly for months. The three states that decided to forge ahead with Tuesday elections — Florida, Arizona, and Illinois — are struggling to keep polling places open as droves of poll workers fail to show up. Other states are making emergency moves to…

Coronavirus Is About to Shut Down the Democratic Primary for Months

WASHINGTON — The U.S. election is about to go mostly dark — possibly for months.

The three states that decided to forge ahead with Tuesday elections — Florida, Arizona, and Illinois — are struggling to keep polling places open as droves of poll workers fail to show up.

Other states are making emergency moves to delay their own elections for months. And both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have been forced to hit pause on their own campaigns.

The primary calendar was already set to thin out after this Tuesday’s primary. But now, after Tuesday there are no large states voting until April 28 at the earliest — and even some of the states set to vote that day are moving to push back their elections.

That means that Biden and Sanders face a long stretch of purgatory where Biden will remain the likely nominee and heavy front-runner, with both sides unable to change the race.

READ: Trump proposes direct payments to Americans as part of coronavirus plan

And there’s some question whether states can actually pull off their primaries without risking both low voter turnout and health peril for the people running the elections.

Tuesday’s elections show how hard it is to run an election during a pandemic.

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Poll workers stay home

Both Illinois and Florida faced involuntary polling place shutdowns and delays as hundreds of poll workers refused to show up to run the elections. Arizona had already shuttered dozens of polling locations ahead of election day as the state brace for a lack of poll workers.

And the problems aren’t just electoral — holding in-person elections are a potential threat to public health, even after states attempted to make sure the voting sites would be safe. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that there have been shortages of promised sanitizing and cleaning supplies at some Illinois voting sites, increasing the likelihood that polling centers could spread the disease and put at risk both poll workers and voters.

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