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WUSF News is committed to covering the upcoming presidential election with a focus on the issues – and not the political horse race. WUSF is pairing with WMFE in Orlando to cover the 2020 presidential election with a specific focus on the I-4 Corridor. We will focus on the issues and topics that matter most to voters in this crucial region, who could sway the election.

Coronavirus Having Ripple Effect On Florida Primary Politicking

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

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

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.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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