Illinois, Florida, Ohio pushing forward with primaries

Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, and former Vice President Joe Biden, left, return to the stage after a commercial break in a Democratic presidential primary debate at CNN Studios, Sunday, March 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida, Illinois and Ohio are pushing forward with Tuesday’s primary election, although the coronavirus is causing headaches for some county elections supervisors as poll workers drop out in fear of catching the disease.

The governors’ offices in those states said Monday they are not planning to delay the primary despite the viral outbreak. Arizona is also scheduled for Tuesday and is expected to proceed. Georgia already postponed next week’s primary and Louisiana has postponed its scheduled April 4 primary.

In Florida, one precaution the state took is to move polling places located in nursing homes and assisted living facilities to avoid exposing the residents to outsiders. For some counties like Volusia, that became a benefit as they combined those with another nearby polling site, meaning the county needed fewer workers.

Broward County is stocking its 421 polling locations with extra supplies, including 4,000 rolls of paper towels, gloves and more than 400 bars of soap.

“We’ve purchased gallons of rubbing alcohol and are having them transferred to spray bottles,” said spokesperson Steve Vancore. “We’ve ordered cases upon case of Clorox wipes so polls workers can frequently wipe down the equipment and wipe down the voting booths.”

Broward, which is home to Fort Lauderdale and the state’s second-largest county, relies on 3,800 paid polling workers. But they recruited 4,500, he said.

“We have extra and so far so good,” said Vancore, noting very few are calling out due to virus concerns.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.


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