Coronavirus Having Ripple Effect On Florida Primary Politicking - WUSF Public Media | Tampa NPR, Local News Coverage

Coronavirus Having Ripple Effect On Florida Primary Politicking

Florida State Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo at an event in Tampa Thursday Steve Newborn WUSF Public Media

Concerns about the coronavirus are expected to have an effect at the ballot box during Tuesday’s presidential primary.

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Bernie Sanders has cancelled all Florida events, and fellow Democratic candidate Joe Biden has called off all large rallies – including one planned for Monday in Miami. And virtual events are replacing many in-person gatherings at the local level.

During a visit to Tampa, State Democratic Party chair Terrie Rizzo said she doesn’t expect voter turnout to decrease too much. She says many people have already voted by mail.

“Early voting is quick and easy and not a large-group situation. So voting early is an option,” she said. “And also regular voting. So I think we already have high turnout, and we’re going to continue to see high turnout in this.”

She said the cancellation of rallies in Florida planned by Biden isn’t helping to whip up voter enthusiasm.

“It’s a disappointment, obviously,” Rizzo said. “But we’re very happy that Vice President Biden is observing the health concerns and not putting people at risk. He’s following all the recommendations that we’re supposed to. And that’s what we believe in – the safety of our people is the most important consideration.”

It’s increasingly unlikely that any election night watch parties sanctioned by the main candidates will be held, as Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked that all large gatherings be cancelled.

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