Biden wins Ohio’s mail-in primary delayed by coronavirus

Joe Biden wins Ohio’s Tuesday presidential primary, clinching a contest that was less about the Democratic nomination and more about how states can conduct elections in the era of the coronavirus.

The primary is the first major test of statewide elections via mail amid an outbreak.

There were reports of confusion but no widespread disruption. It wasn’t like Wisconsin earlier this month, when voters were forced to overlook social distancing guidelines to stand in line wearing masks to cast ballots.

“Within the context of the threat of the virus, it’s a decision that we will have made the best of,” Republican Ken Blackwell, a former Ohio elections chief who chairs the bipartisan International Foundation for Electoral Systems, says of mail-in balloting.

Overall turnout was surprisingly strong, says Secretary of State Frank LaRose. While his office says about 1.5 million votes had been cast as of midday Saturday, down sharply from the 3.2 million cast in Ohio’s 2016 presidential primary, he says some larger counties received tens of thousands of additional ballots Tuesday.

“It was better than OK. It was great,” he says.


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