March 17, 2020 - Primaries in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio*

< March 14  |  March 17  |  April 7 >

511 Delegates (441 Pledged)
:  These were the first contests to occur under the full shadow of the coronavirus pandemic.  Ohio postponed its primary the evening before voters were to head to the polls, but the other three states went ahead.  Former Vice President Joe Biden continued his seemingly unstoppable progress toward the Democratic nomination.  On the Republican side, President Trump's win in the Florida primary made him the presumptive nominee.  reactions

ARIZONA PRIMARY (67 pledged delegates)

Official Results  - Secretary of State  Ballot [PDF]
Yang 1,921, Castro 754, Williamson 668, De La Fuente 628, Patrick 242, Hewes 208, Ellinger 184
On ballot but formally withdrew: Bennet, Bloomberg, Booker, Delaney, Klobuchar, Steyer.

AZ SOS: "Results will not be reported for candidates who formally withdrew from the election.
Results are shown for candidates who publicly suspended their campaigns but did not file a formal withdrawal."

Biden  |  Sanders Bloomberg  |  Warren

The presidential primary was open only to Democrats.  In Sept. 2019 Arizona Republicans opted not to hold a presidential primary. 

Early voting started Feb. 19, 2020.  To give a sense of how early voting went, by March 4 Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes reported his office had processed nearly 150,000 returned ballots.  Thus tens of thousands of ballots were cast for candidates who were no longer active by primary day March 17.  [Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is most populous county and accounted for 58.3% of eligible voters in the primary].

As the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic became clear, election officials scrambled to "protect voters’ health while maintaining their access to the ballot."  Secretary of State Katie Hobbs encouraged voters to request a ballot by mail (deadline was March 6).  In Maricopa County, there was a bit of drama when Recorder Andrian Fontes on March 13 unilaterally and without authority attempted to send out ballots to eligible voters who had not yet voted.  A court blocked the mailings.  More successfully Maricopa County officials redesigned their voting system in a matter of days, going from 229 polling locations to 148 vote centers.  Maricopa County also ran seven emergency vote centers on March 14 and 16.  Fontes reported that, “Democratic turnout was higher this year than it was for the 2016 Presidential Preference Election, and nearly 90 percent of them voted by mail or dropped off ballots.” [press releases]

Biden carried 13 of 15 counties (all except Coconino and Yuma) and 7 of the 9 congressional districts.  Sanders prevailed in CD3 (Southwestern part of the state along the U.S.-Mexico border including part of Tucson, represented by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D)) and CD7 (inner Phoenix, represented by Rep. Ruben Gallego (D)).  Results for Bloomberg, who had the most extensive organization on the ground in Arizona, were not reported as he had formally withdrawn.  Warren also had a significant organization here.

Total eligible registration (Dem.): 1,256,343.  Total ballots cast: 613,355.  Turnout 48.82%.

See also:
Dillon Rosenblatt.  "Court stops County Recorder from sending ballots to all voters for Tuesday election."  Arizona Capitol Times, March 13, 2020.

And note:
Phoenix was scheduled to be the site of the eleventh presidential debate, on Sunday, March 15, but on March 12 the DNC announced it was moving it to Washington, DC due to coronavirus.

Delegate Selection


FLORIDA PRIMARY (219 pledged delegates)

Official Results  - Department of State (2) Ballot [PDF]
Yang 5,286 (0.3%), Bennet 4,244 (0.24%), Steyer 2,510 (0.14%), Williamson 1,744 (0.1%), Delaney 1,583 (0.09%), Booker 1,507 (0.09%), Castro 1,036 (0.06%),
Sestak 664 (0.04%), Patrick 661 (0.04%)

Biden  |  Sanders Bloomberg
  |  Warren

Vote by mail send period: February 6-13, 2020. 
Early voting: March 7-14, 2020; county Supervisors of Elections can offer more days as early as March 2 and up to March 15.

Biden carried all 67 counties and obtained over 50% of the vote in every congressional district.  His strongest showing was in the 20th CD—Palm Beach and a bit of Fort Lauderdale, represented by U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D)—where he obtained 72.6% of the vote.  Sanders' best showing was in the 7th CD—Orlando area, represented by U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D)—where he obtained 35.9% of the vote.  Over 500,000 more votes were cast in the Democratic primary than in the Republican primary.

Delegate Selection

Voter Registration: 9,929,980.  Turnout: 3,002,960.  % Turnout: 30.2%

Republican Primary: Trump 1,162,984 (93.79%), Weld 39,319 (3.17%) Walsh 25,464 (2.05%) De La Fuente 12,172 (0.98%).  Total 1,239,939. +


ILLINOIS PRIMARY (155 pledged delegates)

Official Results  - Illinois State Board of Elections  Ballot [PDF]
Yang 4,021 (0.24%), Booker 2,684 (0.16%), Steyer 1,684 (0.10%), Patrick 1,567 (0.09%), Bennet 1,346 (0.08%), Delaney 1,185 (0.07%)
Klobuchar submitted an official withdrawal on March 2 so her results were not reported and are not included in the topline total above.

Biden  |  Sanders Bloomberg  |  Warren

Early Voting: February 6-March 16, 2020.

As in the other March 17 states, election officials encouraged early voting.  As primary day approached there were "hundreds of polling place location changes" as well as some election judges cancelling.  On the eve of the primary a spokesman for State Board of Elections explained that it made sense to proceed because "much of the voting for this election already has been done. Also, at this point there is no date in the foreseeable future when we can expect greater safety with any certainty."  Further, to change the date of the primary would have required "action by the General Assembly to amend the Illinois Election Code or a court order."  [press releases]

Overall 2,279,439 total ballots were cast (turnout of 28.36%), comparable to recent presidential primaries.  Three times as many votes were cast in the Democratic primary as in the Republican primary.  Of  the 2,279,439 total ballots, there were 207,614 mail ballots (9.1 percent of total) and 635,635 early votes (27.9 percent of total).  By comparison, in the 2016 primary, vote by mail made up only 3.3 percent of the vote (119,340) and early voting accounted for 14.5 percent (518,926). 

Biden carried 101 of 102 counties (Sanders won in Champaign County, home of the University of Illinois).

Voter Registration: 8,036,534. 
Total Ballots Cast:  Dem. 1,705,047 (74.80%), Rep. 563,512 (24.72%), Prop. Only 10,697 (0.47%).  Total 2,279,439.
Turnout: 28.36%

Republican Primary: Trump 520,956 (95.98%), De La Fuente 21,833 (4.02%), Mayers 11.  Total 542,800 [563,512]. +


OHIO PRIMARY (136 pledged delegates)

Organization: Biden  |  Sanders Bloomberg  |  Warren


On March 16, the day before the primary, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), citing CDC recommendations, made a late effort to postpone the state's primary.  A court rejected the move, but that evening Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, ordered all polling places closed on March 17.

Voting was already underway;  during Ohio’s early voting period from February 19 to March 16, 2020, 523,522 early votes were cast either in person or by mail  These included 317,609 in the Democratic primary, 186,624 Republican, 1,543 Libertarian and 17,746 non-partisan.  All told officials had received 590,245 absentee ballot requests and 66,723 ballots were outstanding.

Following suspension of the March 17 primary, Secretary of State Frank LaRose proposed to send absentee ballot request forms to 7.2 million registered Ohioans who had not yet voted and conclude the primary in June.  Despite LaRose's recommendation that, "No date before June 2nd is logistically possible (+)," on March 25 the General Assembly unanimously passed H.B. 197, a wide-ranging coronavirus relief bill which included a provision setting the conclusion of primary for April 28.  Governor Mike DeWine signed the bill on March 27.

[press releases]

The Secretary of State's office notes that In addition to the presidential primary there were local races and  "a total of 482 local issues and questions across 83 counties" on the ballot.

Further OHSOS provides these quick facts:

There are 7,776,063 registered Ohioans for the 2020 Primary Election.

Ohio is one of the top states for early voting opportunities, allowing for:
Vote by mail for any reason
Early in-person voting in every county
One of 20 states that allow Saturday voting
One of just five states that allow voting on a Sunday

conclusion of the primary, April 28, 2020 >


Friday, March 13, 2020

Statement From Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio Chief Elections Officials

PHOENIX – The following statement is attributable to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (AZ), Secretary of State Laurel Lee (FL), Elections Board Chairman Charles Scholz (IL) and Secretary of State Frank LaRose (OH): 

As each of our four states prepare for voters to head to the polls on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, we are working closely with our state health officials to ensure that our poll workers and voters can be confident that voting is safe.

Unlike concerts, sporting events or other mass gatherings where large groups of people travel long distances to congregate in a confined space for an extended period of time, polling locations see people from a nearby community coming into and out of the building for a short duration.

Further, guidance from voting machine manufacturers on how best to sanitize machines, guidance from CDC on best practices for hand washing, and guidance from our respective state health officials is being provided to every polling location.

Americans have participated in elections during challenging times in the past, and based on the best information we have from public health officials, we are confident that voters in our states can safely and securely cast their ballots in this election, and that otherwise healthy poll workers can and should carry out their patriotic duties on Tuesday.