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Joe Biden wins all 3 primaries in Arizona, Florida and Illinois

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Biden wins latest round of Tuesday primaries

Joe Biden swept all three primaries on Tuesday night in Arizona, Florida and Illinois, CBS News projects. The contests took place amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis that led Ohio officials to postpone their primary, which had also been scheduled for Tuesday.

In remarks after his early win in Florida, Biden, speaking from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, said his campaign appeared to have had a "very good night," but he also spoke about the coronavirus crisis. He told Americans that "it's important to get through this crisis protecting both the public health and our democracy."

Bernie Sanders gave remarks via livestream earlier in the night. He focused mainly on the coronavirus crisis and highlighted unity.

Tuesday's lopsided results will expand the divide in delegates between Biden and Sanders.

It's unclear when the next primary contests will be held. Georgia, which had been set to vote on March 24, has postponed its primary, as did Louisiana, which was scheduled to go to the polls on April 4.

President Trump, meanwhile, clinched the Republican nomination on Tuesday night.

 

Delegate count as of 12 a.m. ET

As of 12 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Biden had increased his lead to 291 delegates. Biden now has 1,093 delegates to Sanders' 802. To get the nomination, the Democratic candidate will need 1,991 delegates. 

By Kabir Khanna
 

Arizona voters most concerned with who can unite the country

According to CBS News primary polling in Arizona, the most important candidate quality for voters was being able to unite the country. Of those voters, 65% said they voted for Biden, while just 16% went for Sanders.

The poll was mostly of voters who already voted by mail and includes those who said they were likely to show up at polls today.

Like Florida and Illinois voters, 69% of Arizona voters saw Biden as the candidate with the best chance of beating Mr. Trump, compared to 26% who believed the same of Sanders. Biden was also seen as the candidate trusted more to handle a major crisis.

Biden led among white voters by 51% to 32%. Hispanic voters were more evenly divided: Biden 45% to Sanders 44%.

By Jennifer De Pinto
 

Biden wins Arizona primary, CBS News projects

CBS News projects the former vice president wins the Arizona primary, finalizing Biden's sweep of the three states that voted.

Sixty-seven pledged delegates are up for grabs in Arizona.

— Ellee Watson and Melissa Quinn

By Caroline Linton
 

Ohio governor and secretary of state say decision to delay primary "saved Ohio lives"

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Frank LaRose cheered the decision to postpone the state's primary election until June 2, saying it "saved Ohio lives."

"By preventing Ohioans from going to polling locations, we averted a situation which would have gone against the most recent scientific evidence available and could have dangerously advanced the spread of coronavirus across Ohio," the two said in a joining statement. "It is abundantly clear that it would have been impossible to carry out a fair, accessible, and safe election today."

DeWine and LaRose stressed that Ohio voters should have a "significant" amount of time to cast mail-in absentee ballots and also vote in-person.

Less than 12 hours before the polls were set to open in Ohio, DeWine announced that Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, would be issuing an order to close polls "to avoid the imminent threat with the high probability of widespread exposure to COVID-19."

By Melissa Quinn
 

Biden leading in every county in Florida

As of 11 p.m. ET, Biden is leading in every county in Florida. Although Hillary Clinton won the primary in 2016, Sanders won nine counties in the northern part of the state in that contest. 

Grace Segers and Ellee Watson

 

Information of some "protected" voters erroneously revealed, Arizona secretary of state says

The Arizona secretary of state has revealed that personal information related to some protected voters was erroneously included in reports generated from the state's voter registration database. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said in a statement that the error was not the result of a security breach or vulnerability.

Hobbs said her office was notified from a county official that an early ballot report they compiled included "protected voters," or those whose information is protected due to their jobs or if they were victims of certain crimes.

Seventy-eight names were mistakenly included in the reports, the secretary of state's office said, and the office has asked county officials to contact those who were directly impacted.

The early ballot reports are produced using data from the state's voter registration database, and the reports are provided by counties to political parties during elections.

Hobb's office said the process for producing reports from the voter registration database has also been updated to prevent future errors.

By Melissa Quinn
 

Biden says campaign "has had a very good night" after early wins

Biden celebrated his early wins in Illinois and Florida with a solemn address to supporters calling for the country to come together in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, while also thanking Bernie Sanders and his supporters for the "remarkable passion" they have brought to the Democratic race.

Speaking from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, with a backdrop of black cloth and flanked by two American flags, Biden remarked that his campaign "has had a very good night" and is moving closer to securing the Democratic presidential nomination.

He also thanked election officials and poll workers in the three states with in-person voting for ensuring people could cast their ballots while also remaining safe.

"It's important to get through this crisis protecting both the public health and our democracy," he said.

Biden said that his campaign is building a broad coalition that includes support from African-Americans, the Latino community, labor, firefighters, teachers, suburban women and others.

"We're doing it with a common vision," he said, adding that he and Sanders share that vision.

The former vice president also thanked Sanders and his supporters for bringing "remarkable passion and tenacity" to issues like healthcare, income inequality and climate change, and delivered a message directly to young Sanders supporters.

"To young votes who have been inspired by Senator Sanders: I hear you, I know what's at stake. I know what we have to do," he said. "Our goal as a campaign and my goal as a candidate for president is to unify this party and to unify the nation."

Biden also praised Americans for altering their lives as public health officials rush to limit the spread of the coronavirus, saying that Americans are "ordinary people doing extraordinary things when the need arises and today we are moving quickly to adapt our routines to meet this challenge."

"It's in moments like these we realize we need to put politics aside and work together as Americans," Biden said. "The coronavirus doesn't care if you're a Democrat or Republican. It will not discriminate based on national origin, race, gender or your zip code. It will touch people in positions of power as well as the most vulnerable people in our society. We're all in this together."

By Melissa Quinn
 

Most Illinois voters concerned about the coronavirus supported Biden

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CBS News

A large number of likely voters in Illinois, 87%, said they were concerned about coronavirus, according to CBS News primary polling in the days leading up to the primary.

Biden received the support of likely voters concerned about the coronavirus by about 2-to-1. Similar percentages of likely voters are worried about the direction of the nation's economy in 2021, and Biden received their support by a similar margin. Sixty-four percent of likely voters in the Illinois primary picked Biden over Sanders as the person they would trust more to handle a major crisis.

Likely primary voters in Illinois said beating President Trump was more important to them than having a candidate who agreed with them on the issues, and 69% said Biden would have the better chance to defeat the incumbent president in November.

Polling shows Biden with a commanding lead among black likely voters – getting 70% of those polled – but he also received a majority vote of white likely voters as well, securing the support of both whites with and without college degrees. He received the support of over half of men and nearly two-thirds of women.

The generational divide seen throughout this election cycle was also apparent in Illinois, with Sanders taking the vast majority of likely voters under 45, and Biden getting the strong support among older voters.  But older likely voters significantly outnumbered their younger counterparts: more than six in ten likely voters were over the age of 45.

And while Sanders maintains strong support of likely voters who say they are very liberal – getting nearly two-thirds support among this group – they made up just over a quarter of those polled. Biden garnered strong support among likely voters who said they were "somewhat liberal", and did particularly well among moderates.

—  Fred Backus

By Caroline Linton
 

Biden wins Illinois primary, CBS News projects

Joe Biden wins Florida and Illinois primaries, CBS News projects

CBS News projects the former vice president will win the Illinois primary.

By Eleanor Watson
 

CBS News estimates Illinois leans toward Biden

CBS News estimates Illinois leans toward Biden.

At the moment, Chicago looks to be very close between Biden and Sanders, but many more votes are expected to be counted.

The current delegate allocation in Illinois has Biden with 33 delegates and Sanders with 21. There are 155 total delegates at stake in Illinois.

— Ellee Watson and Grace Segers 

 

Trump clinches Republican nomination

Following wins in the Republican primaries in Illinois and Florida, President Trump has secured the delegates needed to win the Republican presidential nomination, CBS News projects.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel offered congratulations to Mr. Trump for "officially becoming the presumptive Republican nominee for president."

Mr. Trump had several early challengers for the Republican nomination, though most dropped out of the race. Only former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld remains in the race.

— Ellee Watson and Melissa Quinn 

 

Electability a priority for Florida voters

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The vast majority of likely Florida voters think Joe Biden has the best chance of defeating President Trump in the general election, according CBS News primary polling. CBS News

Most likely voters in Florida said electability was a priority for them going into the primary, according to CBS News primary polling in the days leading up to March 17. Seventy-three percent of likely voters also think Biden would have a good chance of beating Mr. Trump, compared to just 21% who picked Sanders.

Voters over age 45 were more likely to say they support Biden. Those who want the next president to return to Obama policies instead of more liberal policies said they would vote for Biden.

Nearly half of Florida likely voters said Sanders' issue positions were too liberal, but most said Biden's issue positions were about right.
 
Florida likely voters said they trusted Biden over Sanders by a wide margin — 59% to 37% — to handle Social Security.

By Jennifer De Pinto
 

Sanders calls for unity in livestreamed speech as nation confronts coronavirus pandemic

anders addressed supporters in a livestreamed speech after polls closed in most of Florida and called for the country to come together as local, state and federal officials respond to the coronavirus.

"I think the main point to be made tonight is that in this moment of crisis, it is imperative that we stand together, understand that right now throughout this country, there are so many of our people wondering what's going to happen to me tomorrow?" Sanders said. He added that "this is a moment that we have got to be working together."

Sanders laid out a series of proposals he said he plans to present to Democratic leadership and said an adequate response will require an "unprecedented" amount of money." Sanders estimated the price tag will top $2 trillion.

The plans put forth by Sanders to bolster the response to the coronavirus include allowing Medicare to cover all medical bills during the public health crisis; increasing test kits for the coronavirus and the speed at which tests are processed; activating the National Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other military resources to help expand healthcare capacity; and using emergency authority to scale up production in the U.S. of critical supplies and protective equipment.

Sanders also suggested a number of measures to mitigate the economic impacts for American workers and their families, including providing a $2,000 monthly cash payment to every household for the duration of the crisis, expanding Meals on Wheels and food stamps and placing a moratorium on evictions, foreclosures and utility shutoffs.

"We must make certain that the government is getting this money into the hands of working families and the most vulnerable as quickly as possible," he said.

Sanders said the economic crisis should not be "another money-making opportunity" for large corporations and Wall Street.

"We've got some major crisis, but I have the strong belief that if we work together, if we do not turn to fear and panic, but if we understand that the way we solve this is by going forward as one people, remembering those who are hurting tonight and will be hurting in the future," he said. "This is the richest country in the history world. This is a country with unbelievable energy, with unbelievable talent, with incredible resources. We can do it. We can address this crisis, we can minimize the pain and let us do just that."

By Melissa Quinn
 

CBS News projects Biden will win in Florida

CBS News projects Biden will win Florida, the biggest prize in Tuesday's primaries with 219 pledged delegates. Florida has a large Hispanic population, and Biden has previously struggled to gain support from Hispanic voters in states which have already held primaries, like Nevada.

The delegate allocation at poll closing in Florida was 100 delegates for Biden, and 27 for Sanders, according to CBS News' analysis.

All polls are now closed in Florida and in Illinois, after an election day marked by fears about the spread of the coronavirus. Polls close in Arizona at 10 p.m. ET. The Ohio primary has been pushed back until June 2.

— Grace Segers and Ellee Watson

By Caroline Linton
 

Sanders to livestream remarks about the coronavirus

Sanders will livestream remarks about the coronavirus crisis at 7:15 p.m., shortly after polls close in Florida. The speech will address how the "response to the outbreak should put working families and the most vulnerable first," according to a press release from the campaign.

CBS News primary polls show that among likely voters in Florida and Illinois, and among those who voted by mail in Arizona, Democrats said Biden is the candidate they trust more to handle a major crisis.

Biden and Sanders have made remarks outlining their plans to respond to the crisis.

By Grace Segers
 

Early voting and vote-by-mail numbers in Florida outpace 2016

The Florida Democratic Party said the number of Democrats who have voted early in person and by mail has exceeded turnout in the primaries in 2016.

According to the state party, 141,560 more Democrats voted by mail this year than they did in the last presidential primary. Additionally, 74,031 more Democrats voted early in person this year than in 2016.

The Florida Democratic Party also said it enrolled nearly 500,000 new Democrats into vote-by-mail in 2018. The party said that the coronavirus pandemic, which has impacted voting in states holding their contests today, demonstrates the need for the government to revamp voting methods.

—  Rebecca Kaplan and Melissa Quinn

 

Health care top issue for voters

 As the country deals with a health care crisis, the issue of health care remains on voters' minds. In Arizona, Florida, and Illinois, voters picked health care as the issue that would be most important in determining their vote, according to CBS News primary polls. The second most important issue among voters in each of the three states was income inequality, followed by climate change and race relations.

Likely Democratic voters in Illinois said they are also worried about the economy, primary polls show. More than eight in 10 are least somewhat concerned about the national economy over the next year.

By Jennifer De Pinto
 

Voters in Florida, Illinois and Arizona want a nominee who can defeat President Trump

In the three states where voters will head to the polls Tuesday, most said they prefer the Democratic nominee be someone who can beat Trump — at least six in 10 in each state— over someone they agree with on major issues, according to CBS News primary polls. 
 
As has been the case throughout this campaign, there are high levels of dissatisfaction toward the Trump administration among the Democratic primary electorate. Large majorities of likely voters in Florida and Illinois and those who voted by mail in Arizona said they feel angry about the Trump administration.
 
Among likely Democratic voters in Illinois, more Sanders supporters said they would be unhappy about Biden being the nominee than Biden supporters would be if Sanders became the nominee, according to primary polls. Fifty-four percent of Sanders supporters would be dissatisfied or upset if Biden won the nomination, compared to 37% of Biden backers who would feel that way if Sanders became the nominee.

By Jennifer De Pinto
 

Biden is the candidate Democratic voters trust more to handle a major crisis

crisis-exit-poll-3-17.jpg
According to CBS News exit polls, among likely voters in Florida and Illinois and among those who voted by mail in Arizona, Democratic voters said Biden is the candidate they trust more to handle a major crisis.  CBS News

CBS News primary polls show that among likely voters in Florida and Illinois, and among those who voted by mail in Arizona, Democratic voters said Biden is the candidate they trust more to handle a major crisis.

Among those polled in Florida, 71% said they trusted Biden more, compared to 23% who said Sanders is the candidate they trust to handle a major crisis. In Illinois, 64% of Democratic voters selected Biden while 31% said Sanders is more trusted, and in Arizona, 63% said they trust Biden more to handle a major crisis compared to 31%, who pointed to Sanders.

By Jennifer De Pinto
 

DNC encourages vote-by-mail in remaining states

The Democratic National Committee is calling on states that haven't yet held their primaries to vote by mail, as coronavirus threatens future primaries.

"The simplest tool is vote by mail, which is already in use in a number of states and should be made available to all registered voters. States using vote by mail should proactively mail ballots to registered voters, where feasible, and should count all ballots as long as they are postmarked by the date of the primary," DNC chair Tom Perez said in a statement on Wednesday. 
 
Where in-person voting can take place in accordance with health guidelines, states should expand the days and hours of early voting to cut down on lines, Perez added. 

By Ed O'Keefe
 

More than half of all likely voters in Illinois concerned about effects of coronavirus

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In Illinois, CBS News exit polling shows more than half of likely Democratic primary voters said they were very concerned about coronavirus.  CBS News

According to CBS News primary polls, nearly all likely voters in Illinois expressed at least some concern about the effects of the coronavirus, including more than half who said they are very concerned about it. Most likely voters of all ages in Illinois said they are concerned, but older voters are particularly so: 62% of voters ages 45 and over say they are very concerned, compared to 38% of younger voters. Women (59%) were also more likely than men (46%) to be very concerned.

Some voters, meanwhile, said the coronavirus could change their decision to vote. In Florida, among those who said they would definitely vote and planned to do so in person on Election Day, 15% said it was very or somewhat likely that they could change their decision to vote. In Illinois, that figure was 9%, according to primary polls.

By Jennifer De Pinto
 

Biden campaign expects to widen delegate lead despite coronavirus impacts to voting

 The Biden campaign is optimistic it will walk away from Tuesday's primaries with a wider delegate lead than it had going into the contests despite the challenges to voter turnout raised because of the coronavirus.

"It would take a drastic, historically-incomparable swing for Senator Sanders to win more delegates than Biden today or to close the delegate differential," the campaign said in a memo released Tuesday.

Heading into the four primaries held on Tuesday, Biden led Sanders by more than 100 delegates. The former vice president's campaign also noted that while fewer people may head to the polls on Election Day because of the coronavirus, it expects overall turnout to match that of past elections. 

"While voter turnout on Election Day itself may be lower due to COVID-19 concerns, we believe that, with early vote and vote by mail, overall turnout will be roughly on pace for 2016 in Arizona and Florida and roughly on pace for 2018 in Illinois, and that voter turnout in all three states will reflect the population at large," the campaign said in the memo.

By Melissa Quinn
 

Illinois governor defends decision to leave polls open

 Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, on Tuesday defended the decision to keep the polls open despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"There are people out there today who want to say, 'Oh, it's a crisis, bend the rules and overstep your authority,'" Pritzker said. "Let me tell you this, It is exactly in times like these, when the constitutional boundaries of our democracy should be respected above all else. And if people want to criticize me for that, well, go ahead. I'll wear it like a badge of honor."
 
Earlier Tuesday, Chicago Board of Elections spokesman Jim Allen said he urged Pritzker to prohibit voting in person and go fully vote-by-mail. Allen later apologized for the remarks.
 
The Chicago Board of Elections said they said they've had to move in total 200 precincts, with some locations in the city dropping out as soon as this morning (these cases were immediately moved to a new location). In Chicago, 126,499 votes have been cast through 2 p.m. ET, with a surge after the first two hours.  

By Aaron Navarro
 

Biden tweets reminder to be safe when voting

Biden tweeted a reminder about polls being open in Arizona, Florida and Illinois. 

"I encourage folks to vote by mail or curbside vote if you can," Biden wrote. "If you vote in person, please wash your hands, don't touch your face, and stay 6' from others in line."

By Caroline Linton
 

Maryland moves primaries from April 28 to June 2

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced at a press conference on Tuesday morning that the state will move its primary from April 28 until June 2. The state Board of Elections issued a statement shortly after that "fully supports" Hogan's decision.

The decision follows similar action in Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana. In a last-minute move on Monday, Ohio postponed its primary.

Ellee Watson and Sarah Ewall-Wice 

 

Ohio Democratic Party calls for primary before June

The Ohio State Supreme Court denied a challenge to Ohio's primary delay filed by Wood County judicial candidate Corey Speweik, who was fighting the state of Ohio's decision to shut down Tuesday's primary and postpone voting until June over concern about the spread of the coronavirus. 

The process leading up to the delay was chaotic. With less than 12 hours to go before polls were scheduled to open in Ohio for the state's presidential primary election, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, announced polls would remain closed Tuesday amid concerns over the coronavirus. The decision came just hours after a Franklin County judge denied a request backed by the governor and secretary of state to delay the election. 
 
The Ohio Democratic Party said in a statement Tuesday that although voting did not seem feasible, it hoped the primary would be rescheduled for earlier than June 2. 

"Given the chaos, confusion and mixed messages of the past 24 hours, it's clearly impossible for in-person voting to move forward today in Ohio," the party said in a statement.

"The Ohio Democratic Party strongly supports concluding the primary election earlier than June 2. Extending for that long is highly problematic for any number for reasons, and it is not at all clear that in-person voting will be possible on that date anyway," the statement continued.

Grace Segers and Sarah Ewall-Wice

 

Trump says delaying elections "not a very good thing

At a news conference Monday, in response to a question about the possible impact of the coronavirus outbreak, President Trump said delaying elections would be "not a very good thing."

"I'd leave that up to the states," Mr. Trump said. "Postponing elections is not a very good thing … I think postponing is unnecessary."

By Caroline Linton
 

Going into Arizona primaries, Biden appears to have advantage

A poll by Monmouth University released on Monday showed Biden with a double-digit advantage over Sanders in Arizona. Among voters likely to participate in the primary, Biden was supported by 51% to Sanders' 31%. 

Sanders leads among Latino voters by seven points, and among voters under 50 years old by wide margins. But this is more than offset by Biden's strong advantage among larger voter blocs, including white voters and those aged 50 and over. 

In head-to-head matchups with the president, Biden had a small edge Mr. Trump, but the president was virtually tied with Sanders. Although Arizona has long been a solid red state, it could be a battleground this November. Mr. Trump only won the state by 4 points against Hillary Clinton in 2016. 

In the Senate race, Democrat Mark Kelly had a 6-point edge in the poll over incumbent Martha McSally. 

By Caroline Linton
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