Alaska and Wyoming are holding their presidential primaries entirely by mail over several days to protect voters during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Alaska Democratic Party reported results from its weeklong mail-in primary on April 11.
Alaska Democratic primary results:
Biden won 53.5% of the vote compared to 44.7% for Sanders, who dropped out of the presidential race on April 8.
What’s at stake?
Alaska allocates 15 pledged delegates to the convention, all of which are determined based on the statewide results.
Alaska and Wyoming are holding their primaries entirely by mail amid an unprecedented coronavirus outbreak, which is throwing a wrench in elections all over the country and making it harder for many to get to the polls as many states issue stay-at-home orders and the CDC recommends against gatherings of 10 people or more.
Multiple other states that planned to hold elections in March and April including Ohio, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Delaware have postponed their primaries until May or June.
Hawaii and Louisiana, which were also scheduled to vote on April 4, have also delayed their primaries. Hawaii will vote by mail through May 23, and Louisiana will vote on June 20.
Democrats allocate most of their pledged delegates proportionally by legislative district, in addition to allocating at-large and PLEO (party leader and elected official) delegates based on the statewide vote breakdown. Because Alaska has just one at-large congressional district, all its delegates are allocated statewide.
While delegates are allocated proportionally, in nearly every state the minimum threshold to earn delegates is 15% of the vote. In Alaska, this means candidates must break 15% of the vote at the state level to earn any delegates.
Today’s primaries come a little over two weeks after former Vice President Joe Biden’s blowout victory in the March 17 primaries, in which he won all three of the day’s electoral contests outright and continued to expand his formidable lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders in national pledged delegates.
Sanders officially dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary on April 8, but will continue to stay on the ballot for the remainder for the primary contests and keep earning delegates towards the Democratic convention.
Because Sanders dropped out several days after Alaskans started mailing in their ballots, he still earned a substantial proportion of the vote. Biden has earned nine pledged delegates while Sanders earned eight, accounting for 15 pledged delegated with two alternate, according to the Alaska Democratic Party.
Who did the forecast say was ahead?
According to FiveThirtyEight’s primary election forecast, Biden was projected to have a 3 in 5 (57%) chance of winning the most delegates in Alaska, compared to a 2 in 5 (43%) chance for Sanders.
In 2016, Sanders won Alaska’s Democratic caucuses with 80% of the vote compared to 20% for Hillary Clinton.