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Inmates: Arizona lacks adequate coronavirus plan in prisons

PHOENIX (AP) — Inmates in Arizona’s prisons have asked a judge to order the state to develop an adequate plan for confronting the new coronavirus behind bars. Their lawyers say prison conditions and the state’s lack of preparation put the lives of older prisoners with chronic illnesses at risk. The Department of Corrections, Reentry and Rehabilitation says it has taken steps to reduce the potential spread of the virus, such as suspending a $4 co-payment on inmates who seek medical care for cold and flu symptoms. Eighteen coronavirus cases have been reported in Arizona. None have reported in state prisons.


Health chief halts Ohio primary; 3 other states forge ahead

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's health director has ordered polls closed just hours before they were to open there and in three other states for presidential primaries. Gov. Mike DeWine's office said late Monday that Health Director Amy Acton declared a health emergency and ordered the polls closed for fears of exposing voters and volunteer poll workers to coronavirus. Arizona, Florida and Illinois were proceeding with their presidential primaries. DeWine failed to get a judge to halt the primary Monday evening and said the election results wouldn't be viewed as legitimate in light of the pandemic that has paralyzed the nation.


Arizona Legislature nears plan for basic budget

PHOENIX (AP) — A plan to quickly pass a basic state budget by the end of the week to ensure the state has funding until the coronavirus crisis ebbs was coming together in the Arizona Legislature Monday. Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers told his members that the “baseline” budget would include no policy changes like tax cuts but provide required funding increases that are baked into the budget. Republican Senate President Karen Fann says other items include unemployment for temporary layoffs and waiving rules requiring testing and a minimum number of school days for K-12 campuses that are shuttered because of the virus.


Arizona scrambles to shore up primary, reassure voters

PHOENIX (AP) — Election officials in Arizona say they'll be prepared for Democrats to vote in their party's presidential primary Tuesday despite the unprecedented cloud of a global pandemic and pleas by public health officials to avoid unnecessary social interactions. Officials say they're working around the clock to consolidate polling places, line up backup poll workers, or open emergency voting centers where people can cast a ballot early. In some areas, poll workers will collect absentee ballots directly from cars so people don't have enter a public building to turn them in.


Uncertainty surrounds Democratic primary as Ohio scraps vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic presidential primary is consumed with uncertainty after leaders in Ohio called off Tuesday's election just hours before polls were set to open to combat the new coronavirus. Not since New York City postponed its mayoral primary on the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has an election been pushed off in such a high profile, far-reaching way. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said late Monday that the state's health director will declare a health emergency and order the polls closed. Elections officials in Arizona, Illinois and Florida said they were moving forward with plans to vote.


5 questions heading into Tuesday's Democratic primaries

Four states are scheduled to hold Democratic presidential primaries on Tuesday amid a global pandemic and outbreak of the novel coronavirus. There are some unanswered questions ahead of the elections, not the least of which is whether the elections will actually happen. If they do, what will turnout look like, with people being warned to stay away from crowds? Still, all four of the states — Illinois, Ohio, Arizona and Florida — allow early voting, so there is a good chance that many people cast ballots remotely by mail. If Joe Biden widens his lead, there's a possibility it could spell the end of the presidential primary.


2020 Watch: How will the coronavirus change the elections?

NEW YORK (AP) — The Democrats' presidential nomination fight has been relegated to an afterthought as the U.S. grapples with a health crisis likely to grow exponentially in the coming weeks. That's even as Bernie Sanders fights for his political survival against a surging Joe Biden ahead of another set of high-stakes primaries Tuesday. And while an otherwise consequential week of Democratic primary politics may struggle to break through, the spotlight is on President Donald Trump and his ability to lead through a time of deep and growing upheaval. Trump's performance has been uneven at best. If he continues to struggle to protect America's health and economy, he'll also struggle to get reelected in November.


US census faces challenges counting small, poor Latino towns

GUADALUPE, Ariz. (AP) — U.S. census workers face challenges counting small, poor and largely Latino communities. An Associated Press analysis shows language barriers, poverty and a population that's often more transient and distrustful of government can make them especially hard to count. That's a problem for the once-a-decade census meant to ensure federal dollars get to communities needing them most. They include places like Guadalupe, Arizona, a largely Hispanic town founded by indigenous refugees from Mexico, and Immokalee, Florida, which has seen a recent wave of indigenous Guatemalan immigrants. As people are asked to keep their distance from one another amid the coronavirus pandemic, counting such communities could grow even more difficult.