Joe Biden is the favorite to win the Illinois Democratic primary.

  • Joe Biden (-5000) is a heavy favorite over Bernie Sanders (+1200) to win the Illinois Democratic primary election.
  • The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could depress older voter turnout, which leaves some potential for Sanders to make up ground.
  • Illinois has been experiencing chaos across the state owing to the COVID-19 crisis, necessitating last-minute changes and adjustments to voting procedures.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.The Illinois Democratic primary polls open today, and former Vice President Joe Biden continues to be the overwhelming favorite over Senator Bernie Sanders. Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is still in the race as well despite holding only two total delegates.

The current odds on who will win the Illinois primary, per Bovada, are:

Odds To Win Illinois Democratic Primary:

  • Joe Biden -5000
  • Bernie Sanders +1200

Biden and Sanders are coming off of a head-to-head debate on Sunday in which both candidates were asked pointed questions about their proposed response to the Coronavirus outbreak, as well as more general policy questions.

Despite several notable gaffes, including a false claim that Senator Sanders has “nine Super PACs” backing his campaign, Joe Biden actually increased his lead in post-debate polling and betting odds, meaning that a Biden-Trump showdown in November is beginning to look inevitable.

How Does COVID-19 Change The Illinois Primary?

The primary elections today carry an increased degree of uncertainty owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which could severely depress voter turnout and enthusiasm.

Elderly voters, who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, are a wild card during these primaries. Many Illinois polling stations near nursing homes have been removed, with mail-in ballots being distributed instead.

Polls show that Sanders has a heavy lead over Biden with younger voters, so lower turnout from elderly voters could help Sanders pull off an upset.

Still, the momentum supports Biden right now, and it looks like the Sanders campaign is running out of time to flip it.

Additional Chaos At The Illinois Primary

Illinois will see a huge volume of mail-in ballots, which could cause a delay in counting the votes similar to what happened in Washington and California. Chicago totaled 118,000 applications to vote by mail, breaking a record that was set during World War II.

Roughly 10% of Illinois election judges, around 850 people in all, informed the state that they would not be showing up to polling stations because of COVID-19.

State officials spent much of the morning scrambling to get young volunteers to replace those judges, with many being sworn in on the spot. This chaos has extended to the distribution of voting equipment as well.

One polling station in Lincoln Park, for example, was forced to turn voters away because it has not received election supplies yet. The station offered voters the option to vote using a provisional ballot instead.

Potential primary voters in Illinois and other states should be aware that their provisional ballot may not be counted if it is not verified by an election official.

Results are expected to begin trickling in around 7:30 p.m. tonight, 30 minutes after the polls close statewide.

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