The state at the epicenter of the American coronavirus pandemic is now positioned to be the final big prize in the Democratic presidential race.
New York on Saturday became the 11th and by far the biggest state to postpone primaries during the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak. Such delays are just one example of the broad array of ways states are responding to the historic public health emergency.
Also over the weekend, a push intensified in the biggest battleground state, Florida, to expand voting by mail in time for November. One judge was pressed to ease the Arkansas absentee voting deadline, while another judge made it temporarily easier to get on the ballot with petitions in Virginia. But the obvious problems gathering signatures during mandatory social distancing prompted the end of a ballot referendum drive in Arizona.
Here are the latest developments:
Eight days to the Wisconsin primary and almost every aspect of it remains up in the air, from the rules for how people will vote to whether the election will even take place.
The state, which already looms as the essential presidential battleground in November, has quickly become the heart of the national debate about the propriety of voting during a pandemic. It is the only state that has not in some way delayed an April presidential primary, the main rationale being that some state and local contests on the ballot are for jobs that become vacant without a timely election.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers shifted course Friday and, after saying the polls should be open April 7 as usual, proposed that 3.3 million ballots be printed and delivered to every voter in the state in time for them to be filled in and sent back on schedule. Republicans in charge of the Legislature, who would have to pass a bill for that to happen, said the idea was a logistical impossibility.
Richie is president and Daley a senior fellow at FairVote, a nonpartisan electoral reform group that promotes ranked-choice voting. This month Daley published "Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy" (Liveright).
So much has changed in American life, and so quickly, that it's hard to believe it's been just four weeks since former Vice President Joe Biden shocked Sen. Bernie Sanders with a rout on Super Tuesday.
A race that had been unsettled for months, seemingly bound for a brokered convention, shifted decisively in Biden's direction over the course of just 72 hours. Several competitors exited the race and offered their endorsements, strong performances across the South gave him a large delegate lead and then Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren gave up as well.
Imagine for a moment that it hadn't worked out that way. Imagine Tom Steyer got closer to Biden in South Carolina, and Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar pressed on. Suppose Bloomberg's early momentum continued and it was only Warren who dropped out, prompting progressives to consolidate behind Sanders against a still-fractured field.
Advocates for making the coronavirus pandemic the time for changing American voting habits are taking heart there won't be any polling places for three of the next four Democratic presidential contests.
Voting in Alaska and Hawaii will now join Wyoming's caucuses in being conducted entirely remotely, among the latest wave of changes in the world of elections during a historic public health emergency.
While several states moved to make voting easier, Wisconsin pressed ahead with plans for a traditional primary April 7 and has now been confronted by four federal lawsuits hoping to force changes. And Florida reported the first known cases of poll workers subsequently testing positive for coronavirus.
Here are the latest developments: