Reactions to the March 17 Primaries

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.

Biden for President
March 17, 2020

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Joe Biden in Wilmington, DE

Good evening everyone.
Last week, I had the honor of speaking to all of you from Philadelphia, the birthplace of the foundational documents of our democracy.
Tonight, in keeping with the latest guidance from the CDC to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, I am speaking to you from my home in Wilmington.
I hope that all of you are staying safe, taking the recommended precautions to keep social distance, and slow the spread of the coronavirus.
This pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives, and every aspect of this campaign.
My heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one, to those who have contracted the virus, and to all of the brave Americans who are working harder than ever to help their neighbors.
Doctors, nurses, EMTs, and public health officials, as well as front line emergency workers like fire fighters and the dedicated folks working to keep the shelves stocked in grocery stores.
Tackling this pandemic is a national emergency akin to fighting a war.
It will require leadership and cooperation from every level of government.
It will require us to move thoughtfully and decisively to quickly address both the public health crisis and the economic crisis we’re in.
It will require us to pay attention to the medical and scientific and health experts.
And it will require each and every one of us to do our part.
Yes, this is a moment where we need our leaders to lead.

But it is also a moment where the choices and decisions we make as individuals, and collectively as a people, will make a big difference in the severity of the outbreak and the ability of our medical and hospital systems to handle it.
I know that we as a people are up to this challenge.
I know that we will answer this moment of crisis with what is best in ourselves — because that is what Americans have always done.
That’s who we are.
And today, even as we are moving quickly to adapt our routines to meet this challenge, Americans in three states went to the polls.
I want to thank all the public officials and the poll workers who worked closely with public health authorities to assure safe opportunities for voting — to clean and disinfect voting booths and to make sure that voters could cast their ballots while maintaining distance from one another.
It is important for us to get through this crisis, protecting both the public health and our democracy.
Today, it looks like, once again, in Florida and in Illinois — and we’re still waiting to hear in Arizona — our campaign has had a very good night. And we’ve moved closer to securing 
the Democratic party’s nomination for president. 
We’re doing it by building the broad coalition that we will need to win in November with strong support from the African American community; the Latino community; high school educated people, like the ones I grew up with in my old neighborhood; labor; teachers, suburban women, veterans, fire fighters, and so many more. 

And we’re doing it with a common vision. 

Senator Sanders and I may disagree on tactics, but we share a common vision — for the need to provide affordable health care for all Americans to reducing income inequality to taking on climate change.

Senator Sanders and his supporters have brought remarkable passion and tenacity to these issues, and together, they have shifted the fundamental conversation in the country. 

And let me say, especially to the young voters who have been inspired by Senator Sanders: I hear you. I know what is at stake. And I know what we have to do.

Our goal as a campaign, and my goal as a candidate for president, is to unify our party – and to unify our nation.
It’s at moments like these that we realize we need to put politics aside and work together as Americans.
The coronavirus doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican.
It will not discriminate based on national origin, race, gender, or zip code.
It will touch people in positions of power and the most vulnerable in our society.
We are all in this together.
This is a moment for each of us to see and believe in the best in every one of us.
To look out for our neighbor.
To understand the fear and stress so many are feeling.

To care for the elderly couple down the street.
To thank the health workers and the doctors and the nurses and the pharmacists and the grocery store cashiers and the people re-stocking the shelves.
To believe in one another.
Because I assure you — when we do that, when we see the best in each of us, we’ll lift this nation up, and we’ll get through this together.
May God bless you all — and we say a special prayer for those on the front lines of this crisis — the doctors, the nurses, the health care workers caring for virus victims and their families.

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
March 17, 2020

Florida puts President Trump over the top as presumptive 2020 Republican nominee

The Presidential Preference Primary in President Trump’s home state of Florida today put him above the delegate threshold to become the presumed 2020 Republican nominee for president in a primary season that saw him shatter records for vote totals and vote percentages. With Florida’s 122 delegates awarded to the President, he has 1,330 delegates, above the 1,276 needed to win the nomination.


“The Republican Party is more unified and energized than ever before and it’s because of President Trump’s leadership and clear record of accomplishment on behalf of all Americans,” said Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager. “As his response to the coronavirus has shown, and as the broad and strong economy demonstrates, the President wakes up every day putting America first in every decision he makes. And voters have responded.”

Counting vote totals from states which have held primary contests so far, President Trump has earned at least four million votes more than the previous record for total votes cast for an incumbent president in those same states, held by former President Bill Clinton in his 1996 re-election campaign. President Trump set vote total records in the following states which have had primary contests so far in 2020: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington. For example, Trump won 1,889,006 votes in Texas, easily besting total votes for recent previous presidents running for re-election: Barack Obama (520,410), George W. Bush (635,948), and Bill Clinton (796,041). In Michigan, Trump received 639,143 votes, compared to 174,054 for Obama and 265,425 for Clinton (In 2004, there was no Republican Preference Primary election in Michigan).

The President also set records for percentages of the vote in state after state, even considering incumbent presidents of either party running for re-election. As an example, Trump won over 97 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses, a record share of the vote in a year of record Republican turnout. In New Hampshire, President Trump won nearly 86 percent of the vote, better than Obama (2012), Bush (2004), and Clinton (1996) received in their re-election years.

President Trump will formally become the Republican nominee at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina in August.


Republican National Committee
March 17, 2020

President Donald Trump Becomes Republican Party’s 2020 Presumptive Nominee

WASHINGTON — Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released the following statement after President Trump secured enough delegates to once again become the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president:

"Nobody motivates our base more than President Trump, as evidenced by the historic turnout we've seen in state after state this primary season," said Chairwoman McDaniel. "Fueled by both our longtime supporters and the thousands of new voters that continue to join our movement, we are united and enthusiasm is on our side.  We have the strongest record of success, an unparalleled grassroots infrastructure, and are thrilled to have President Trump as our Party’s presumptive nominee once again."

Republican National Committee
March 17, 2020

this is what record breaking enthusiasm looks like

The takeaway from the primaries that have taken place so far: There is record-breaking enthusiasm for President Trump.
Among states that have already voted, President Trump has received more than 4 million more raw votes than Bill Clinton did in ’96, who had the previous high.
While some states have changed their processes (making direct comparisons difficult), here are just some of the states where turnout for President Trump has been off the charts:


Presidential Primary Vote Totals














































Michigan: Almost 4 times as many people turned out for President Trump than President Obama.
Texas: Over 3.5 times as many people turned out for President Trump than President Obama. So much for all the talk about Texas turning blue in 2020.
New Hampshire: Over 2.5 times as many people turned out for President Trump than President Obama.
California: Even in liberal blue states, with votes still being counted, President Trump (2,176,818) has already turned out more voters than President Obama (2,075,905) did.
Massachusetts: Almost 2 times as many people voted for President Trump as President Obama.
Bottom Line: Heading into 2020, President Trump is leaps and bounds ahead of where the past two successful re-election campaigns were. The party is united and enthusiasm is on our side.
Steve Guest
Rapid Response Director
Republican National Committee
Florida Secretary of State
March 18, 2020

Florida Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee Provides 2020 Presidential Preference Primary Election Day Recap

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – Today, Florida Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee provides a recap of the statewide Presidential Preference Primary (PPP) held yesterday, Tuesday, March 17. Preliminary election results show that more than 2,985,039 voters exercised their right to vote during the election through vote-by-mail, early voting and voting on Election Day.
“Florida’s Presidential Preference Primary was a success, due to the cooperative efforts of Florida’s Supervisors of Elections, election workers and voters,” said Florida Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee. “Under the direction of Governor DeSantis, we proactively worked with emergency management officials to ensure that Supervisors had the necessary resources for sanitization and cleaning at polling places to help ensure the safety of voters on Election Day. Thanks to our 67 county Supervisors of Elections, their staff and thousands of poll workers, Floridians were met with professionalism in addressing concerns, and a steady commitment to ensuring eligible voters were able to vote.”
Florida’s preliminary election results are available on the Florida Election Watch website:  Please keep in mind: preliminary election results on Election Night are not the official election results. Official election results from the 67 counties are due to the Florida Division of Elections no later than noon on Sunday, March 29. These official results will then be presented to a meeting of the Elections Canvassing Commission on Tuesday, March 31 for certification. Statistics regarding vote-by-mail and early voting are available on the Florida Division of Elections website.
  • VOTER ASSISTANCE HOTLINE – From 7 a.m. through polls closing at 7 p.m. local time, the state’s Division of Elections staff answered more than 1300 calls from Florida voters requesting assistance. Most calls were related to polling precinct information, registration information and status, assistance with ballots and status of vote-by-mail ballots.
  • COUNTIES – Out of concern for at-risk populations, polling places were moved and/or consolidated, and some voters were not able to vote at their usual precinct. Voters from those sites were accommodated either at their new precincts, or through other methods, such as vote-by-mail and provisional ballots. 
Preliminary returns reported to the state on Election Night are not the official election results. Official returns are due to the Department of State from county canvassing boards no later than noon on March 29. These official results will be certified at a meeting of the Florida Elections Canvassing Commission at 9 a.m. on March 31 at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee. The Elections Canvassing Commission consists of the Governor and two members of the Florida Cabinet selected by the Governor (Section 102.111, Florida Statutes).
Florida’s timeline for the reporting and certification of election results is as follows:

  • Preliminary Primary Election Night Returns consisting of early voting and all vote-by-mail results tabulated to date were due no later than 7:30 pm in the respective county’s time zone on Election Night (Tuesday, March 17). Thereafter, the board reported in until all precinct-election results were completely reported. (Section 102.141, Florida Statutes)
  • Note: Pursuant to Section 101.048, Florida Statutes, the deadline for persons voting a provisional ballot to provide evidence of eligibility to Supervisors of Elections is March 19, no later than 5 p.m.
March 20: Unofficial Returns to include all results with the exception of 10-day ballots from overseas voters are due from the county canvassing boards no later than noon on Thursday, March 20. (Section 102.141, Florida Statutes)

March 27: Ballots from overseas uniformed service members and overseas civilians (UOCAVA voters) must be received by March 27. Ballots must be postmarked or signed and dated no later than the date of the Presidential Preference Primary. (Section 101.6952(5), Florida Statutes)

March 29: Official Returns are due from the county canvassing boards no later than noon on March 29. (Section 102.112, Florida Statutes)

March 31: The Elections Canvassing Commission meets to certify the Official Returns for statewide contests at 9 a.m. on March 31 at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee. The Elections Canvassing Commission consists of the Governor and two members of the Florida Cabinet selected by the Governor (Section 102.111, Florida Statutes).


About the Florida Division of Elections: The Florida Department of State’s Division of Elections supports the Secretary of State, Florida’s Chief Election Officer, in ensuring that Florida has fair and accurate elections. The Division’s three bureaus; the Bureau of Election Records, Bureau of Voter Registration Services, and Bureau of Voting Systems Certification, have several responsibilities in the areas of legal compliance and elections administration to ensure that Florida’s election laws are uniformly interpreted and implemented. The Division also assists local Supervisors of Elections in their duties and promotes enhanced public awareness and participation in the electoral process. For more information about Florida’s elections, visit

Illinois State Board of Elections
CONTACT:  Matt Dietrich


SPRINGFIELD (April 17, 2020) – The Illinois State Board of Elections today certified the results of the March 17 primary election, including an official voter turnout figure of 28.36 percent.

A total of 2,279,439 voters cast ballots in the primary out of a total of 8,036,534 registered voters statewide, with Democrats accounting for 74.8 percent of the vote and Republicans 24.72 percent. Additionally, 10,697 voters cast non-partisan ballots on local ballot propositions.

Though Board of Elections staff have not completed compilation of official early voting and vote-by-mail totals, unofficial estimates indicate that use of these methods roughly doubled from the 2016 presidential primary, when 17.9 percent of votes were cast during early voting and by mail. Unofficial data shows voting by mail, which accounted for 3 percent of the 2016 primary vote, likely made up 10 percent of the 2020 total.

Though voting on March 17 was conducted amid coronavirus concerns, turnout results statewide were comparable to several presidential primaries in recent years. Four of the previous 10 presidential primaries generated voter turnout of less than 30 percent, with 2000 and 2004 turnout lower than this year’s:


A copy of the official vote total book for the primary is included below. The book can also be viewed and downloaded in the Vote Totals section of the Publications page on the SBE website. Searchable results also are posted on the SBE Election Results page.

The State Board of Elections is an independent state agency charged with the responsibility of having general supervision over the administration of election laws of the State of Illinois. Elections are administered locally by the State’s 108 election authorities.