As coronavirus tests elections staff, Laurel Lee claims a successful night
Laurel Lee. Image via Renzo Downey.

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Florida Politics calls the state for Joe Biden.

Secretary of State Laurel Lee noted challenges from the coronavirus outbreak tested supervisors of elections on Election Day in Florida, but she lauded election staff at the end of voting Tuesday evening.

Lee spoke after the last polls closed in the state and Florida Politics called the Democratic primary for former Vice President Joe Biden. President Donald Trump also won the little-contested Republican primary.

Polls closed at 7 p.m. local time with the first results coming in after the state’s central time precincts closed.

“Because of the extraordinary work of our supervisors of elections, their staff and thousands of poll workers, Floridians today were met with professionalism in addressing concerns and a steady commitment to ensuring that eligible voters were able to vote,” Lee said.

Earlier Tuesday, Lee said polls were open across the state despite challenges at five Palm Beach County polling places. Three precincts were unable to open and were consolidated into other county precincts.

The county had 800 volunteers back out amid coronavirus concerns as of Monday, with just 100 new volunteers offering to take their place. Voters unable to cast ballots in the redirect were able to submit vote-by-mail ballots at the supervisors of elections’ office.

The Secretary of State added that her department had contacted all supervisors of elections and were assured that precincts were prepared and equipped for voters, and they had taken health precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Lee reported 1,300 calls to voter assistance lines on a night with low to medium turnout.

Nearly 2 million Floridians cast vote-by-mail ballots or early votes ahead of Tuesday’s presidential primary.

A coalition of voting-rights advocacy groups had filed a lawsuit seeking to extend mail voting in the state’s primary by 10 days.

Several polling places located in nursing homes had been moved to other sites to alleviate concerns of the coronavirus impacting at-risk elderly residents.

One Lee County polling place closed because of an emergency unrelated to COVID-19. The department flagged no physical security or cybersecurity concerns ahead of or during Tuesday’s election.

The Elections Canvassing Commission will certify the election results on March 31.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


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