If one thing is true of the 2020 Democratic primary elections, they are sure to leave a mark in U.S. history as being one of the longest and most drawn-out primary elections the country has ever seen. Voting delays are now considered the norm. As of press time, a total of 18 U.S. states have postponed their primaries due to the health concerns of COVID-19, with Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and New Jersey recently being added to the list.
Ohio’s primary elections were originally scheduled to take place on March 17 but were postponed just hours before voting polls were to open in response to the public health crisis brought on by the novel coronavirus. In an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Mike DeWine changed the date for all in-person voting in Ohio to be carried out on June 2 but this was eventually changed to a mail-in-only voting system as a result of a statewide stay-at-home order.
The Ohio primaries began around mid-February with early voting and accepted ballots up to Tuesday, April 28 with former Vice President Joe Biden winning the majority vote by more than 72 percent.
Following his win in Ohio, Biden took the Kansas Democratic primary winning 76.9 percent of the vote. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who susspended his campaign shortly after the Wisconsin primaries and is now endorsing Biden, won 23.1 percent, positioning him as the only other eligible candidate for delegates to the Democratic National Convention.
Kansas primaries had mail-in voting from March 20 through April 24 but also had in-person primaries on May 2 using party-run ranked-choice voting. On that day, Kansas became the first and only state so far to have in-person voting amidst the coronavirus pandemic. It was also the first primary for Kansas, as the state’s previous elections have traditionally been carried out through caucuses.
The Kansas Democratic Party congratulated both Biden and Sanders for receiving delegates from their state. “The KDP offers its congratulations to former Vice President Joseph Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders for receiving delegates from the Sunflower State,” Kansas Democratic Party Chairwoman Vicki Hiatt said in a statement. “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,” added Hiatt.
With Joe Biden being the presumptive Democratic nominee in the upcoming race against Donald Trump, he is gearing up for battle and recruiting political servicemen and women to be part of his campaign squad. In addition to recently approving a team of new hires to help coordinate the virtual side of his campaign, Biden recently selected Rufus Gifford to be his deputy campaign manager, who was one of seven openly-gay U.S. ambassadors during the Obama Administration as well as having served as a high-profile fundraiser for the Democratic Party.
According to The Washington Blade, campaign officials stated, “As Gifford’s deputy campaign manager focused on finance, external outreach, and coalition building, Gifford is charged with focusing the intersections between finance, policy and political work and occasionally serving as a Biden spokesperson.”
As part of our coverage in TurnOUT: How LGBTQ Organizations Have Mobilized the Community, this project has been supported by the Solutions Journalism Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems, solutionsjournalism.org.