Democratic Party of Hawaii staff tabulate presidential primary ballots in Honolulu on Friday, May 22, 2020. The Democratic Party of Hawaii is scheduled Saturday to release the results of its party-run presidential primary which was delayed by more than a month due the coronavirus pandemic. The party expected most members to vote by mail and some to cast ballots at about 20 in-person polling sites. But concerns about the virus forced the party to cancel in-person voting and allow only mail ballots. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

Hawaii Democrats hold presidential primary delayed by virus

May 23, 2020 - 11:04 am

HONOLULU (AP) — The Democratic Party of Hawaii was scheduled Saturday to release the results of its party-run presidential primary which was delayed by more than a month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The party had initially planned to hold the primary on April 4 and had expected most party members would vote by mail and some would cast ballots at about 20 in-person polling sites around the state.

It began mailing ballots to registered party members in early March back when Sen. Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden were the two front-runners and Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was still maintaining her long-shot bid for the nomination.

But concerns about the spread of the coronavirus forced the party to announce on March 20 it would cancel plans for in-person voting and allow only mail ballots. To give those who expected to vote in person on April 4 a chance to cast a ballot, the party said it would mail another round of ballots to members and wait until late May for them to be returned and counted.

Amidst these shifts, Gabbard dropped out and endorsed Biden. Sanders ended his bid and endorsed Biden on April 13.

The allocation of 24 delegates and two alternates to the Democratic National Convention were up for grabs.

Voters were instructed to mark their top three choices on paper ballots.

Only candidates receiving at least 15% of the votes cast in a given congressional district were to be allocated delegates. Votes for candidates who didn’t receive at least 15% were redistributed to voters’ second-ranked choices, starting with the candidate who received the lowest number of votes.

The Republican Party of Hawaii canceled its presidential caucus after President Donald Trump was the only candidate to declare for the ballot by the Dec. 2 deadline. The party is committing its national convention delegates to Trump.

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