Illinois voters will still face a dizzying choice of 13 presidential candidates if they choose to vote in the state’s Democratic Primary — even though less than a handful are still in the race.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg became the latest to fold his candidacy on Wednesday, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is said to be reassessing her run.
But both names are on early voting touch screens and will appear on March 17 ballots.
With the dust still settling from Super Tuesday, the remaining candidates probably have other concerns than losing a few sympathy votes to departed rivals two weeks from now. If Warren drops out, the field will be down to former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.
But it’s too late for Illinois election officials to remove the names of Bloomberg, Warren, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet or former Maryland U.S. Rep. John Delaney. New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker will also be listed, even though he dropped out more than seven weeks ago.
The Illinois Board of Elections held a lottery for ballot positions on Jan. 2. Klobuchar, Patrick and Sanders took the top three spots. Biden is listed as the fourth candidate.
Sanders is planning a Chicago rally on Saturday, and another rally in Rockford on Tuesday. Biden is planning a March 13 fundraiser in Chicago with Buttigieg.
Arizona, Florida and Ohio voters will also vote on March 17.
In Illinois, candidates are vying for 184 delegates.
Illinois has more than 8 million active registered voters. As of Wednesday, there have been 179,826 vote-by-mail ballots sent and 27,662 returned, the state Board of Elections said. In the 2016, presidential primary, a total of 119,340 votes were cast by mail.
The state has seen 68,412 early votes cast, although the number does not include DuPage County. In 2016, there were 520,000 early votes.
In Chicago, there has been “monumental” growth in applications to vote by mail, according to the city’s Board of Election Commissioners. Through Sunday, there were 63,000 applications compared to 34,000 who applied to vote by mail in the 2016 primary. Voters have until March 12 to request a mail-in ballot.
Cook County officials said their applications for mail ballots through Monday totaled 32,000.
Contributing: Rachel Hinton