Election: Biden sweeps Florida, Illinois, Arizona primaries as coronavirus shakes up voting

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Joe Biden picked up wins in the Florida and Illinois primaries on Tuesday, defeating Bernie Sanders as voters went to the polls amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was projected to win the Florida and Illinois Democratic presidential primaries on Tuesday, defeating Sen. Bernie Sanders and solidifying his lead for the party’s nomination.

Ohio’s vote was postponed as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. Arizona’s polls close at 10 p.m. Eastern, in a contest Biden is also expected to win.

Now read:Coronavirus complicates primary voting in three states; Ohio criticized for delaying election.

Biden’s Florida and Illinois victories will bolster his already-strong delegate lead, and put pressure on Sanders to quit the race. Ahead of Tuesday’s contests, Biden led Sanders by more than 150 delegates, according to a tracker by the Wall Street Journal. It takes 1,991 to win the nomination at the Democrats’ summer convention.

Voting went ahead Tuesday despite fears over the coronavirus. Officials in all four states said they were taking precautions at polling places. Ohio’s primary was called off just hours before polls were set to open there and in the three other states.

There were reports of disruptions, however, such as a shortage of poll workers in Palm Beach County, Fla., and shuttered polling places in Arizona. In Chicago, turnout was reportedly low.

Biden and Sanders discussed their coronavirus-response plans at a debate Sunday night, and broadly agree that health-care for the pandemic should be provided free.

Read:Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders reveal how they would address the coronavirus pandemic, rebuking Trump’s response.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +5.20%surged more than 1,000 points on Tuesday, aided by the Trump administration’s backing of an $850 billion stimulus plan and the Federal Reserve’s move to backstop the commercial paper market. The Dow’s recovery came after it suffered its worst one-day fall since the 1987 market crash.

The spread of the virus, meanwhile, is disrupting other states’ voting plans. Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana have postponed their scheduled primaries.

The Democratic National Committee is asking states not to postpone their primaries amid the pandemic, but instead to take measures to make voting more safe and remote when possible, the Hill reports.

Democrats and Republicans say they are monitoring the situation and consulting with authorities as they plan their respective conventions this summer.

Now see:Biden, Sanders and Trump scrap campaign events over coronavirus.