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:
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:
Floridians will decide this fall whether to transform the state's polarized politics by opening most primaries to all voters, regardless of party.
Because Florida is the nation's biggest battleground state, the result will be enormously important to the future of one of the core causes of the democracy reform world — diminishing the Republican and Democratic duopoly over political power.
The measure's place on the November ballot was assured Thursday by the state Supreme Court, which is called on to review every constitutional amendment proposed through the gathering of petition signatures. The court ruled 4-1 that the proposal met the necessary legal and clarity requirements.
Chaos reigned Tuesday in all three states that pressed ahead with their Democratic presidential primaries in the face of the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic.
Legions of poll workers, who are mainly older people and therefore in greatest danger of Covid-19 infection, canceled at the last minute or failed to show up at voting locations in Florida, Illinois and Arizona.
Voters were caught off guard when they found their usual polling places shuttered because of health concerns. People in the three states were told where to head instead but people in Ohio were told all voting had been canceled for the day. And plenty of Americans with compromised immune systems decided to walk away rather than risk their health at voting sites they reported were not following basic hygiene standards.
"If it were not so tragic, it would be comical," said Ami Gandhi of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights. His organization and a collection of other voting rights groups took stock of their reports from the field at midday.