Florida Democratic Primary Election: Results and latest updates

Joe Biden is projected to win the Florida Democratic primary, having secured more than 60 percent of votes cast.
Published March 17, 2020|Updated March 18, 2020

Joe Biden is projected to win the Florida Democratic primary.

The Associated Press called the election for the former vice president as soon as the polls closed in Panhandle counties.

Biden received more than 60 percent of votes cast. Sen. Bernie Sanders won about 22 percent.

It’s unclear what the rout will mean for Sanders’ campaign. He showed no signs of backing out of the primary on Tuesday.

Florida, with its 219 delegates, is not a winner-take-all primary; delegates are awarded according to congressional district. Several of the major candidates who already dropped out of the race announced their support for Biden, meaning a delegate awarded to any of them will likely be thrown to the former vice president.

Going into Tuesday, Biden led Sanders 898 delegates to 745.

8:10 p.m.

Joe Biden is projected to win the Florida Democratic primary, according to the Associated Press. He has secured more than 60 percent of all votes cast. Bernie Sanders earned about 22 percent of votes.

7:35 p.m.

Biden leads in every county reporting results so far, nabbing close to 60 percent of all votes cast.

Hillsborough Democratic officials though Sanders could compete in Hillsborough. So far, that’s not the case. With mail ballots, early votes and more than half the precincts counted, Biden has a commanding lead in Hillsborough. Sanders was doing well in the precincts surrounding the University of South Florida.

7:05 p.m.

With mail and early ballots tallied, Joe Biden is up big in Pinellas County.

Mail votes and early ballots lean heavily toward Joe Biden in Pinellas County.
Mail votes and early ballots lean heavily toward Joe Biden in Pinellas County. [ Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections ]

7:00 p.m.

The polls are now closed in all Florida counties in the eastern time zone. They will begin reporting mail and early ballots soon.

Statewide results won’t come until 8 p.m. eastern, after polls close in the Panhandle.

6:50 p.m.

We’re within 10 minutes of the polls closing in most of Florida.

Those who are at a polling location by 7 p.m. are guaranteed the right to vote, even if they are waiting in line. At least in the Tampa Bay area, we didn’t see many lines.

Within minutes of the polls closing, counties will begin posting their mail and early ballots. It’s possible the race will be all but over then.

6:45 p.m.

According to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections, turnout in the county during the 2016 presidential primary was 50 percent. With less than half an hour until polls close, it’s sitting at about 36 percent this year. It’s doubtful this year’s in-person election day turnout will boost the figure by that much.

6:40 p.m.

From top to bottom, side to side, Florida’s Democratic primary is being colored by coronavirus. Both candidates have appropriated the crisis to use in their campaign messaging.

Sanders on Twitter is continuing his effort to tie the pandemic into his campaign messaging.

“This must be a moment in which people ask fundamental questions about the rationality of our current health care system,” he Tweeted.

“We need to do whatever it takes to deliver relief for our families and ensure the stability of our economy,” Biden Tweeted.

6:20 p.m

With just under an hour to go, it’s a good time to reflect how we got here.

Not so long ago, it looked like the Democratic nomination could be decided in Florida.

Then Biden had his dominant Super Tuesday, swinging the momentum in his direction. By now, barring something truly unexpected, Biden’s nomination is not quite a forgone conclusion, but it's close.

In the meantime, coronavirus.

Times Political Editor Steve Contorno sums it up like this: these are “circumstances no one could have predicted at the start of the year.”

Related: No one expected a Florida Democratic primary like this

6:10 p.m.

This is how you cast a ballot during a global pandemic. BYO pen and hand sanitizer.

6:00 p.m.

We now have less than hour to go before the polls close in the vast majority of Florida.

5:40 p.m.

If Leon County is a snapshot, increases in pre-election day voting could come close to making up for the depressed turnout on today.

5:30 p.m.

Still undecided with just a few hours to go? Times Political Editor Steve Contorno compared where Biden and Sanders stand on key issues, like health care, the environment, affordable housing, marijuana, immigration and higher education.

5:15 p.m.

The word of the day is “turnout.”

Already, turnout this primary day is down from 2016. That could be because more people voted by mail, or because the Republican ballot has an incumbent.

It’s also likely due to coronavirus.

There’s an “obvious correlation between coronavirus and turnout,” Pasco Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley told Tampa Bay Times reporter Allison Ross.

Read more about low turnout here.