Election Judge Doug Brooks is concerned about the coronavirus pandemic (CBS Chicago).
Cook County and Lake County courts have shut down, but polling places remain open for today’s presidential primary Election Day, even after Gov. JB Pritzker’s executive order Monday that bans events that organize 50 or more people. The Illinois governor’s executive order was announced the same day the federal government recommended no groups of more than 10 people gather for events.
Louisiana was the first state to postpone primary elections on Friday, March 13, 2020. Next, Georgia also delayed their scheduled primary elections. Also on Monday, Kentucky postponed its May 19 primary to June 23, 2020. On Monday, March 16, 2020, New York delayed village elections statewide until the April 28 primary election.
Ohio postponed its Tuesday primary election just hours before polls were set to open.
Early Tuesday morning March 17, 2020, the Ohio state Supreme Court denied a judge’s attempt to let the primary election continue after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine asked the court to delay the primary until June 2, 2020 because of risks related to voiding Social Distancing during the coronavirus outbreak.
On Sunday, March 15, 2020 Gov. Pritzker said he was an irrepressible optimist when it comes to Illinois. He added, “The last week has validated every opinion that I have ever held about the people of this great state. Our people are the bravest, kindest, hardest-working individuals anywhere in the nation. And I believe in you. I’m going to fight like hell for you in the weeks ahead it people are the bravest anywhere in the nations.” No media at the press conference asked the governor why he didn’t fight for the people (some are elderly election judges) to change the law and do the hard work to postpone the primary election.
Here is the full text regarding Gov. Pritzker’s pep talk about the election at the Coronavirus conference Sunday, March 15, 2020.
“Finally I want to address concerns about the election on Tuesday. Folks, right now, every decision I make is between a bad choice and a less bad choice. The only thing that I know is that I can’t do … I can’t fail to make a decision at all. That is what I know, I cannot fail to make any decision. If we delayed the election, it is unclear when we might be able to hold another one. Many thousands of people have already voted through the mail or have early voted. Thankfully, Illinois has made the ballot very accessible to our residents. In fact, we have already set a record for the number of mail-in applications in Chicago that have been received. We’re working with our local County Clerks all across the state and Boards of Elections to make sure that in-person voting on Tuesday is conducted safely, but remember today, tomorrow, and Tuesday all are election days. Democracy must continue. We have to elect leaders even in less than ideal circumstances. None of these decisions I come to lightly, and I work hard to consider all the benefits and consequences of each decision. Over the last week I’ve had conversations with Illinoisans asking them to make significant sacrifices for the greater good — people of all stripes, political persuasions, and economic status. I am so proud to tell you that — to a person —their responses to these difficult actions that I’ve laid at their feet has been, “I understand Governor, what can I do to help. It has made me so very proud of the people of our state. These are your neighbors, your friends, your family, your business owners, your elected leaders, your civic associations, your first responders, and your health care workers. These are the wonderful people who make this state what it is. I have a reputation as a bit of an irrepressible optimist when it comes to Illinois. The last week has validated every opinion that I have ever held about the people of this great state. Our people are the bravest, kindest, hardest-working individuals anywhere in the nation. And I believe in you. I’m going to fight like hell for you in the weeks ahead.
— Gov. JB Pritzker
Early Tuesday it was maintained that the Illinois’ primary election would continue as scheduled on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, despite concerns over the state’s growing number of coronavirus global pandemic cases and Social Distancing recommendations.
The Chicago Board of Elections warned Monday, March 16, 2020 that Election Day was going to be a major challenge, as polling locations and election judges across the City of Chicago have dropped out of the proceedings entirely.
“Please, please heed our call and volunteer. Help us. We need your patience tomorrow.”
— Chicago Board of Elections Chair Marisel Hernandez at press conference Monday
On Monday, March 16, 2020, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed Executive Order (COVID-19 EXECUTIVE ORDER NO.5 [PDF]) that limits the size of groups to fewer than 50 people, and preceded the signing of the Executive Order by announcing it at the beginning of his press coronavirus conference Sunday, March 15, 2020.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, joined Meet the Press to discuss the federal government’s latest updates on the coronavirus. Plus, Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-Ill.) (Gov. Pritzker begins 15:13) discussed their states’ responses, and president of Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Peter Slavin, and UCLA Health President Johnese Spisso discussed hospital preparedness.
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