Less than 12 hours before voting was set to begin across Ohio, a judge rejected a temporary restraining order supported by Gov. Mike DeWine (R) seeking a delay in that state’s Tuesday primary, declaring that rescheduling the election would “set a terrible precedent.”

Earlier Monday, DeWine had said that no in-person voting would take place in the state’s primary, noting that proceeding as usual would not be in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines against gatherings of 50 people or more amid the coronavirus crisis.

Election officials in the three other states voting Tuesday — Arizona, Florida and Illinois — have said they will proceed with their primaries, though Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) questioned the wisdom of that during a post-debate interview Sunday.

Meanwhile, Edison Media Research projected that former vice president Joe Biden had won the Democratic primary in Washington state, which voted last Tuesday.

Following their first one-on-one debate, Sanders and Biden both held virtual events Monday on the eve of more key primaries in a Democratic presidential nominating contest transformed by the escalating coronavirus pandemic.

1:33 a.m.
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Ohio officials warn again of risks of holding Tuesday’s primary but don’t say whether they will appeal

By Felicia Sonmez and Elise Viebeck

In a statement late Monday, Ohio officials reiterated their concern about the health risks of holding Tuesday’s primary but did not say whether they planned to appeal Judge Richard A. Frye’s decision.

“The only thing more important than a free and fair election is the health and safety of Ohioans,” DeWine and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said. “The Ohio Department of Health and the CDC have advised against anyone gathering in groups larger than 50 people, which will occur if the election goes forward. Additionally, Ohioans over 65 and those with certain health conditions have been advised to limit their nonessential contact with others, affecting their ability to vote or serve as poll workers.”

“Logistically, under these extraordinary circumstances, it simply isn’t possible to hold an election tomorrow that will be considered legitimate by Ohioans,” they added. “They mustn’t be forced to choose between their health and exercising their constitutional rights.”

1:15 a.m.
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DNC chairman urges states to increase vote-by-mail options before November

By Elise Viebeck

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said Monday night that he wouldn’t “second-guess” the decisions of state election officials to hold or delay primaries. But he urged states to widen vote-by-mail options before November.

“There’s actually a solution to this. ... The broader issue is we need to make it easier for people to vote,” Perez said in an interview on MSNBC.

Perez called for states to implement further measures for mail-in voting “wherever practicable.”

“That’s how you can solve the problem,” he said. “We have to walk and chew gum ... understanding that this is a very, very challenging moment.”

1:10 a.m.
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In tele-town hall, Biden tells supporters he’d do better job than Trump combating coronavirus

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

Joe Biden used a tele-town hall Monday night to outline steps he thinks the Trump administration should take to combat the coronavirus pandemic and to tell voters that if he were president, the nation’s response would be different.

“No president can promise to prevent future outbreaks,” Biden said. “But I can promise you this: If I am president, we will be better prepared to deal with future pandemics, because there will be others to come.”

As the nation responded to the pandemic, the Biden campaign began canceling public events last Tuesday, and staff began working from home on Saturday, joining other Americans who have tried to isolate themselves.

On Monday, Biden endorsers held tele-town halls for volunteers in four states that were supposed to vote on Tuesday: Ohio, Florida, Arizona and Illinois. Uncertainty hangs over Ohio’s primary, after a judge rejected a lawsuit by the state’s governor to delay its primaries.

On the conference call, former surgeon general Vivek H. Murthy encouraged people worried about their health to vote by mail or do curbside voting — and offered health tips for people headed to polling places.

Early on in his town hall, Biden told listeners that he — like everyone else in the United States — was dealing with a new reality.

“I know this isn’t the way that any of us would prefer to connect and engage. … And I appreciate all of you for bearing with us as we figure out a new way to campaign,” he said.

1:04 a.m.
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Sanders strikes reflective tone in ‘digital rally’ after recent losses

By Sean Sullivan

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose aides were looking to fire up supporters on the eve of Tuesday’s primaries, stuck a reflective tone during a “digital rally” broadcast online, looking back on the achievements and shortcomings of his campaign.

After losing badly in the second straight round of primaries last week, Sanders has been offering unusually blunt public assessments of his efforts, arguing that he has failed to convince Democrats he is a better bet than former vice president Joe Biden to beat President Trump, but has won the battle of ideas and the support of young people.

On Monday night, he renewed those arguments in a bit more detail than he has before, and issued a stern warning to party leaders not to overlook the youth vote.

“It really does stun me to what degree the Democratic establishment continues to ignore the needs and the ideas of younger people,” said Sanders.

The senator said that “in many ways we won the ideological struggle,” pointing to the growing popularity of policy ideas he has long championed. And he claimed victory in the “generational battle,” touting his dominance among younger Democrats.

But speaking in stark terms, Sanders admitted, “We’re doing poorly with older people.” He added, “I gotta work on that.”

He said that most people feel “Joe Biden is the more electable candidate,” a verdict with which he did not agree. He acknowledged his struggles to bring out new, nontraditional voters in large numbers — a core part of his professed strategy — but expressed hope they would show up in November.

The “digital rally” featured musical performances from Neil Young and the Free Nationals, as well as appearances by actress Daryl Hannah and Sanders campaign officials speaking in short video entries from the states set to vote on Tuesday. They encouraged voters to support the Vermont senator.

Polls show Sanders trailing Biden by wide margins in the states headed to the polls on Tuesday — Florida, Arizona and Illinois. Officials in Ohio are in a legal battle over whether its primary will be delayed over the concerns about the novel coronavirus.

Sanders spoke at length about the virus, saying that it has reinforced the need to enact a Medicare-for-all system in which the government is the sole insurer. He also said it was a moment to consider and rectify economic inequities that could become more severe during the crisis.

“One of the great concerns that I have is we live in a moment of unfettered capitalism,” Sanders said.

12:20 a.m.
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Uncertainty looms over Ohio primary as state judge rejects governor’s efforts to postpone Tuesday’s vote

By Felicia Sonmez and Elise Viebeck

Less than 12 hours before voting was set to begin across Ohio, Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Richard A. Frye rejected a temporary restraining order supported by DeWine seeking a delay because of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic. Frye said that rescheduling the election would “set a terrible precedent.”

“There are too many factors to balance in this uncharted territory,” he said at a court hearing Monday evening.

A spokeswoman for Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said his office was figuring out what to do and whether there is enough time to file an appeal.

“That’s the million-dollar question right now,” said Bethany McCorkle, Yost’s communications director. “People are trying to figure out where that would be appealed and if there’s time.”

Mike West, communications manager for the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, said that officials in his county have refrained from calling or emailing poll workers to tell them the election was off, since the situation was pending court approval.

“We were very careful not to stop doing our work to prepare for tomorrow’s election, because we wanted to wait for the official ruling,” he said.

“Now we’re waiting to see if there’s a response to the ruling,” he said.

Joanna Connors in Cleveland contributed to this report.

11:52 p.m.
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Arizona officials insist their primary will go on as planned

By Holly Bailey

Hours after Ohio officials moved to postpone the state’s presidential primary from Tuesday to June, Arizona officials insisted their contest would go on, arguing it may not be safer to delay voting given the uncertain spread of the novel coronavirus.

“We understand the apprehension that voters have right now,” Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said in a Monday afternoon news conference in Phoenix. “This decision was not made lightly. And what it comes down to is that we have no guarantee that there will be a safer time to hold this election in the near future.”

“There are thousands of workers in communities across the state that must continue the job of counting the ballots in the days following the election,” Hobbs added. “The longer we wait the more difficult and dangerous this will become.”

Her comments came as Arizona officials announced an additional six new cases of coronavirus, bringing the overall state total to 18. In recent days, county election officials across the state have moved to relocate or close polling sites in communities deemed vulnerable to the virus, including in retirement communities around Maricopa County. And some other locations have been forced to close, including those in public schools across the state that have been shuttered for at least two weeks as the state tries to curb community spread.

That has raised local concerns about voter turnout. On Sunday, Brianna Westbrook, a vice chair of the Arizona Democratic Party who is also co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Arizona campaign, posted (and later deleted) a message on Twitter calling to “push back the election a few weeks until it is safe.”

On Monday, Hobbs insisted election officials are planning to do everything they can to protect both poll workers and voters on Tuesday, including the distribution of hand sanitizer at voting sites. She said workers will try to keep voters a safe distance apart and to get people “in and out quickly.”

“Our democracy has risen to challenges in the past and it must continue to do so,” Hobbs said.

11:28 p.m.
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Biden wins Washington primary

By Isaac Stanley-Becker

Biden is projected to win the Washington primary, among the six contests held last Tuesday.

The state awards its 89 delegates proportionally, meaning Biden will not win them all when the final numbers are tallied.

The Pacific Northwestern state votes entirely by mail, and a substantial number of voters sent in their ballots early, making it possible that the reshuffling of the race around Super Tuesday didn’t figure in the choices of a set of voters.

During the 2016 primary, Washington held caucuses, which handed Sanders a thumping victory over Hillary Clinton. The state switched to a government-run primary ahead of the 2020 cycle.

10:34 p.m.
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Florida governor says the primary will be go forward Tuesday: ‘We’re not going to panic’

By Lori Rozsa

Tuesday’s presidential primary in Florida will proceed as scheduled, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Monday afternoon, even as Ohio officials said they were seeking to postpone their Tuesday contest until June. Kentucky also announced it was pushing back its May 19 primary to June 23.

“We’re not going to panic,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Tallahassee.

Florida ballots are filled out with ink pens — voters color in a small oval across from a candidate’s name. In most counties, the only race on the primary ballot is the presidential contest.

“Health officials say, given the nature of the primary and the way you do one oval most of the time for most counties, that can be done safely,” DeSantis said.

Election supervisors across the state have said voters can use their own pens — with black or blue ink — to fill in the oval that marks their vote. Pens at polling places will be sanitized after each use, as will voting equipment, they said.

“It’s one little oval that you’re going to do,” he said. “Most of the votes have probably already been cast.”

Secretary of State Laurel Lee said nearly 2 million ballots have been cast already.

“We are confident that voters can safely and securely go to polls and cast ballots in tomorrow’s election,” Lee said.

She said voters who do not want to go to a polling place can designate a person and sign an affidavit to pick up and return a ballot to their local supervisor-of-elections office before polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

DeSantis said canceling the election would send the wrong message.

“The signal it sends is that somehow we’re paralyzed, and I don’t think that’s the case,” he said. “We’re taking prudent steps. People are taking it seriously, and I think we can do it in a levelheaded way.”

8:34 p.m.
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Sanders, top surrogate question whether Tuesday primaries should be held

By Sean Sullivan

The Sanders campaign has sent mixed signals about whether voters should go to the polls Tuesday.

On Sunday night, CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Sanders whether the primaries in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio should take place.

“That is a very good question,” Sanders replied, adding: “I’m thinking about some of the elderly people sitting behind the desks registering people to enroll, that stuff. Does that make a lot of sense? I’m not sure that it does.”

Sanders’s comments have been echoed by at least one aide. Briahna Joy Gray, national press secretary for the Sanders campaign, attacked Biden senior adviser Symone Sanders on Twitter on Sunday night. On CNN, Symone Sanders has said the CDC said that “it’s safe out there for Tuesday.”

“The only guidance we have so far is that we should not gather in groups of 50 people or more,” Gray tweeted. “I’m sure it’s an honest mistake, but this is a public health crisis.” Her comment drew accusations that she was seeking to suppress the vote.

Bernie Sanders spokesman Mike Casca did not respond to a request seeking clarity on the campaign’s position on voting Tuesday. Nina Turner, a national co-chair for the Sanders campaign, said people “need to do what the medical professionals say do.”

RoseAnn DeMoro, a close Sanders friend and the former head of a nurses union, said she thought it was “insane” that the primaries had not been moved. “I think the primaries are putting people in harm’s way,” she said. If there are issues with the vote on Tuesday, it could “in part” delegitimize the process, DeMoro said.

Asked for the Biden campaign’s stance, a spokesman pointed to a statement from deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield last week urging voters who are feeling healthy and are symptom-free, with no reasons to believe they were exposed to the virus, to vote Tuesday. Those who are not, are exhibiting symptoms or are otherwise at risk should explore remote voting options, the statement said.

Ohio’s DeWine said Monday that he would seek to delay in-person voting in his state’s primary, set for Tuesday.

8:15 p.m.
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Floridians donate hand sanitizer to polling sites ahead of Tuesday’s vote

By Amy Gardner

Reports that Florida election officials don’t have enough hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to stock their voting locations for Tuesday’s presidential primary has prompted donations — from voters.

A county commissioner in Okaloosa County, who is also an officer of the local chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, took up a collection of sanitizers and wipes to be distributed to 32 polling locations on Tuesday.

Those spots wouldn’t have been equipped otherwise, according to the county’s elections supervisor, Paul Lux. In addition, Lux’s warehouse foreman took a trip through the local Walmart over the weekend, on the off-chance that the shelves had been restocked.

“He just happened to make a second lap as they were putting out more sanitizer,” Lux said. “He grabbed all of them.” Then, encountering other shoppers who were also on the hunt for sanitizer, the worker decided to share his stash, leaving with just four bottles.

Meanwhile Lux, along with election supervisors in neighboring Santa Rosa and Escambia counties, all received notice late Sunday from the state Division of Emergency Management that supplies would be made available immediately.

The problem: They would be ready for pickup in Orlando, about seven hours away.

“Thankfully, my emergency management personnel immediately dispatched somebody to Orlando last night to pick up the supplies and come back,” Lux said. “Not only for my county but the two counties west of me as well.”

Lux said Florida regulations do not require polling locations to offer restrooms, so in some places hand-washing is not an option, making the sanitizer all the more necessary.

8:14 p.m.
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Trump says he thinks it’s ‘unnecessary’ to postpone elections due to coronavirus, contradicting DeWine

By Felicia Sonmez

At Monday’s coronavirus task force press briefing, President Trump weighed in on Tuesday’s primaries, saying he doesn’t believe it’s necessary for states to cancel in-person voting.

Trump’s remarks come shortly after Ohio’s DeWine announced that he will recommended a voting extension through June 2.

“I think postponing elections, it’s not a very good thing,” Trump told reporters. “They have lots of room in the electoral places. … But I think postponing is unnecessary.”

Trump said he would ultimately leave the decision up to each state, but he noted that “postponing an election is a very tough thing.”

7:35 p.m.
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Despite headwinds, allies pushing for Sanders to stay in race

By Sean Sullivan

Some of Bernie Sanders’s confidants are pushing him to continue his long-shot campaign for the Democratic nomination despite growing head winds and a coronavirus crisis prompting states such as Ohio to rethink or delay their primaries.

In interviews, three longtime allies argued Sanders has clear justification to keep running. None could say what the Vermont senator ultimately will decide. Sanders has scheduled a remote rally for Monday evening.

“There are millions of people who are depending on him to continue. … You know, there are only two people left. Do the voters in those states deserve to have a choice? I would say yes,” said Nina Turner, a national co-chair of the Sanders campaign and one of the candidate’s trusted advisers. “And it keeps the issues he’s fighting for up front.”

Larry Cohen, who chairs a nonprofit organization established by Sanders, said he wants to see Sanders continue the fight to accumulate delegates, which he hopes will give the movement some power to shape the party’s stance on health-care and climate change. He also said he thought contesting each race could help influence the party at local levels.

“It’s crucial to continue the primary process,” Cohen said.

RoseAnn DeMoro, a close Sanders friend and the former head of an influential nurses union, said Sanders needs to fight on because she does not have faith in Biden. “Biden is a bureaucrat and Bernie’s a leader,” she said, adding, “I think it would be crazy for Bernie to get out at this moment.”

Inside the Sanders orbit, there was private concern Sunday’s debate did not do enough to cause a major shift in the race, as some had hoped it would.

But the campaign has sought to project a positive outlook, distributing talking points Sunday night to supporters suggesting Sanders made clear “he’s the best candidate to take on Donald Trump,” and presented a strong argument for how to combat the coronavirus.

7:28 p.m.
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No in-person voting will take place in Tuesday’s primary in Ohio, governor says

By Felicia Sonmez, Elise Viebeck and Amy Gardner

At a news conference Monday, DeWine recommended a voting extension through June 2. He said a lawsuit will be filed to enact the change.

“We cannot conduct this election tomorrow,” DeWine said, noting that in-person voting would not conform with the CDC guidelines against gatherings of 50 people or more.

Last week, DeWine became the first governor to shut down schools statewide. On Sunday, he announced that all of Ohio’s bars and restaurants will be closed until further notice.

“We cannot tell people to stay inside, but also tell them to go out and vote,” DeWine said in a tweet after Monday’s news conference. He added: “I’m making this recommendation because we must also look out for our poll workers. … I believe when we look back on this, we’ll be happy we did this."

DeWine said all votes that have been cast will be counted, “and this recommendation would allow others to vote in the future.” If a judge approves the move to postpone the election until June, voters will still be able to request absentee ballots, he said.

Some, however, were unhappy with DeWine’s announcement Monday.

“It is regrettable that the state did not do more prior to this point,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Postponement should be a measure of last resort. There are certainly steps that Ohio officials could have done to this point to open up access.”

6:35 p.m.
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Maryland governor to announce decision Tuesday about status of late April primary

By Rachel Chason

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) will make an announcement Tuesday about whether the state’s April 28 primary will be postponed, said Hogan spokeswoman Mike Ricci.

In addition to the presidential primary, there will also be congressional races on the ballot, including a special election to fill the seat representing Maryland’s 7th Congressional District formerly held by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who died last year.

Kweisi Mfume won a decisive victory in February, but Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, a former state party chair and the congressman’s widow, and state Sen. Jill P. Carter (Baltimore City), a former public defender, are still competing in the primary.

There is also a competitive mayoral primary in Baltimore City and city council races.

Jared DeMarinis, director of the candidacy and campaign finance division of the state Board of Elections, said he has seen an uptick recently in the number of absentee ballots requested. He said if Hogan postpones the primary, the Board of Elections will begin a public-relations campaign to ensure that all residents know about the change.

He declined to comment when asked whether he had told Hogan’s office what decision he thinks should be made.

“It’s 100 percent his office that has the ability to decide,” DeMarinis said.