AP Decision Notes: What to expect in North Dakota’s Democratic presidential primary – WTOP News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Voting in the Democratic presidential primary in North Dakota ends Saturday. President Joe Biden would like to add the…

WASHINGTON (AP) — Voting in the Democratic presidential primary in North Dakota ends Saturday with the president Joe Biden I would like to add the state’s handful of delegates to his insurmountable lead in his party’s nomination. The party-run contest rounds out the busiest voting month on the presidential primary calendar, as 30 states, as well as the District of Columbia and several U.S. territories, have held primaries and caucuses in the past 30 days.

The primary was conducted largely by mail from Feb. 20 through noon Saturday CT. Ballots received after this time will not be counted. Voters can submit their mail-in ballots in person at the Central delivery point of the Contracting State in Fargo, but must call ahead to ensure a party representative is available to receive it. A very limited number of in-person voting took place at a different location each day from March 22-24 to accommodate residents of Indian reservations.

In 2020, Biden lost the North Dakota Democratic caucuses, which functioned like small, in-person primaries. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont won the state with 53% of the vote, compared to 40% for Biden. The March 10 contest was one of the last primaries or caucuses before the COVID-19 pandemic caused several states to postpone their elections.

This time, Biden is poised to win his first election in North Dakota against seven other candidates who overall haven’t made much of an impression at the ballot box this season. The state party had originally planned to use ranked-choice voting, in which voters would rank the candidates on the ballot in order of preference, but had to scrap that idea when the Democratic National Committee rejected the proposal. Now primaries use traditional methods of counting votes: voters vote for a candidate, and the candidate with the most votes wins.

North Dakota Republicans held a presidential election on March 4th. Former President Donald Trump won this contest handily on the eve of Super Tuesday with 84% of the vote, compared to 14% for former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Biden and Trump won enough delegates to unofficially secure their parties’ nominations on March 12.

Trump led the state in the 2016 and 2020 general elections with 63% and 65% of the vote, respectively.

Here’s a look at what to expect on Saturday:


The party-line Democratic presidential primary in North Dakota will conclude on Saturday. Mail-in ballots must be received by 12:00 p.m. CT (1:00 p.m. ET) Saturday.

What’s on the ballot?

The Associated Press will cover the Democratic presidential primary. Biden, Jason Palmer, Marianne Williamson, former candidate Dean Phillips and four others are on the ballot. There will be no Republican presidential campaign on Saturday.

Who can vote?

Any person eligible to vote in North Dakota’s November general election can vote in the party-run primary under two conditions: they must fill out a form declaring themselves a Democrat and they cannot vote took part in the Republican presidential election in North Dakota March 4th. North Dakota does not have a voter registration system.


In North Dakota, 13 pledged Democratic delegates are at stake. Three at-large delegates are allocated in proportion to the statewide vote, as are two PLEO delegates, or “party leaders and elected officials.” Eight delegates are named as district-level delegates, but because North Dakota only has one congressional district, they too are awarded based on the statewide vote. Candidates must receive at least 15% of the statewide vote to qualify for one of the delegates.

Decision notes

The State party is expected to release a voting update with full voting results after polls close. The Associated Press will announce a winner based on the State Party’s announcement.

What does voter turnout and early voting look like?

The primary elections will be held largely by mail, with very limited in-person voting possible.

Saturday’s primary will be the first time the North Dakota Democratic Party has held an event of this kind. Therefore, there has been no comparable event recently where one could directly compare voter turnout. However, 14,413 votes were cast in the party’s 2020 presidential election, which operated like an in-person party primary.

How long does it usually take to count votes?

The State party expects to provide an update on the final voting results on Saturday evening or Sunday evening if the vote count takes longer than expected. The final deadline for vote certification is Tuesday.


As of Saturday, there are 142 days until the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and 220 days until the November general election.


Follow AP’s coverage of the 2024 election at

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or distributed.

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