There was little surprise that former Vice President Joe Biden was the overwhelming winner in the May 2 Kansas Democratic Party primary. The really surprising news was that the first all-mail primary set records for participation.

With 76.9%, Biden was the clear winner over Sen. Bernie Sanders with 23.1% of the vote. The real news was the primary set a participation record with 146,873 ballots cast for a total turnout rate of 34.7% among registered Democrats in Kansas.

The 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary was the KDP’s first party-run primary since 1992. The KDP incorporated a vote-by-mail component into its 2020 Primary plan over a year ago but pivoted to a completely mail-in election to protect the safety of all Kansans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Once they shifted to an all-mail election, the party extended the ballot request deadline and modified the original postmark deadline to a “received by” deadline of May 2.

“Kansas Democrats made history in this election with record participation levels along with demonstrating how a vote-by-mail election can protect voters and our Democracy, even in the most uncertain of times,” stated Kanas Democratic Party Chair Vicki Hiatt.

This was also the first election in which Kansas Democrats used ranked-choice voting. Ranked choice meant supporters of other candidates who remained on the ballot but failed to clear 15% of the vote would get to vote for one of the candidates who did clear the threshold. Because of this, Biden’s support rose from 70% to 77%, while Sanders’ rose from 18% to 23%.

Biden, who is the presumptive Democratic nominee, with every other major candidate out of the race, has 1,435 of the 1,991 delegates needed to officially win the nomination. He needs 556 of the remaining 1,389 available delegates.

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