Coronavirus shapes Washington presidential primary

RENTON, Wash. — Washington state is in the next stop in the battle for the Democratic Presidential nomination, but tomorrow’s presidential primary has also seen changes because of the coronavirus.

If you want to see how coronavirus has affected the presidential primary election, just look at the hands of the workers opening ballots at King County Election Headquarters.

Everyone handling the mail or ballots is wearing gloves, says King County Elections Director Julie Wise. "It's mandatory," she said.

The processing room is not only stocked with different sizes of gloves but antiseptic wipes and hand sanitizer.

Coronavirus precautions are also visible at the Bernie Sanders Headquarters in Seattle. Volunteers are greeted with elbow-bumps instead of handshakes. And they continue working hard to ensure a Sanders victory in Washington State.

But unlike like Super Tuesday last week-- there will be no big election night celebration in Seattle.

“Maybe we’ll have some gatherings of about 10 or fewer,” said Shaun Scott, who’s with the Bernie Sanders campaign. “We have to be very responsible about what we’re doing with gatherings.”

Senator Sanders rallied a crowd of more than 17,000 at the Tacoma dome a month ago. Political strategy more than coronavirus fears likely kept him from returning to Washington state close to the election.

Vice President Biden didn't have any public events in Washington before tomorrow night's vote.

People can drop off mail-in ballots while maintaining the social distance needed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“It’s a great plug for vote by mail,” said Wise.