Speed Reads

2020 Democratic Primaries

Joe Biden wins Ohio primary, and so does mail-in voting

Ohio held is primary election on Tuesday, mostly voting by mail for the first time because the state is still in lockdown to halt the coronavirus pandemic. Former Vice President Joe Biden won the Democratic primary — he is the only candidate still running — and Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) fended off a primary challenge from Morgan Harper, endorsed by the progressive group Justice Democrats. In Maryland, former NAACP head Kweisi Mfume, a Democrat, won a special election to replace the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D), beating Republican Kimberly Klacik. Mfume had held the seat before Cummings.

Ohio's election had originally been scheduled for March 17 but Gov. Mike DeWine (R) postponed it, citing a "health emergency." Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said about 2 million people had requested mail-in ballots and 1.5 million had returned them by Saturday; 3.2 million people voted in Ohio's 2016 presidential primary. Turnout, LaRose said, "was better than okay. It was great." Ohio's GOP-led legislature had approved the mail-in election but rejected a proposal to automatically mail ballots directly to voters, as Oregon, Colorado, Hawaii, Utah, and Washington State do.

Other states are exploring vote-by-mail with the assumption that the coronavirus will still be an impediment to voting in November, and Ohio's "moving to a mail-in primary on the fly was watched around the country," The Associated Press reports. Support for voting by mail has grown, polls show, though there's a partisan split likely widened by President Trump's opposition to the idea. An AP/NORC poll released Tuesday found that 39 percent of Americans would like to see all-mail elections, up from 19 percent in 2008, but 48 percent support all-mail voting if COVID-19 is still active in November. And 60 percent favor absentee ballots for any voter who wants one if the pandemic is still happening.

A Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday found even greater support for all-mail voting.

The AP/NORC poll was conducted April 16-20 among 1,057 adults and has a margin of sampling error of ±4 percentage points. Pew surveyed 4,917 people April 7-12, and it margin of error is ±2.1 points.