Illinois Dem official defends holding primary: Going to polls ‘no different’ than grocery store

03/16/20

Illinois Democratic Party executive director Mary Morrissey is defending the state’s decision to hold its primary Tuesday amid the coronavirus outbreak, noting that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) experts have not yet asked the general population to self-quarantine. 

“The CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health have indicated people should stay away from large gatherings, but they have not said everyone should be quarantined in their house,” Morrissey said Monday in an interview with Hill.TV’s “Rising.” 

“So going out to small gatherings or going to the grocery store are things that people are doing on an everyday basis, and going to the polling place is no different,” she added.

Morrissey said Illinois tends to have “shorter lines” at polling places in most precincts. 

“And given the number of votes that have been cast early, I think that will even more so be the case tomorrow,” she added. 

Illinois had approximately 300,000 early ballots cast as of Sunday night, Morrissey said, adding that changing the primary day would disenfranchise voters who have already cast a ballot. 

Asked if she is worried about disenfranchising people who can’t go to the polls because they are worried about their health and safety, Morrissey responded that there was a major push last week to urge people to vote by mail so they wouldn’t have to leave their house. 

She added that election authorities are taking steps to protect voters in polling places and to try and keep them from being in close proximity to each other.

Illinois is one of four states set to hold its 2020 primaries on Tuesday, along with Florida, Ohio and Arizona. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the current Democratic front-runner, is expected to perform well in all four.

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