Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has won last week’s Democratic primary in the state of Wisconsin.
Results released Monday showed Biden capturing about twice the votes of Senator Bernie Sanders, his final opponent in a once very crowded field contending to face off against Republican President Donald Trump in the November general election.
Wisconsin turned out to be the last contested state in the series of elections the party uses to allocate pledged delegates on the way to picking the nominee.
The day after the voting took place, Sanders dropped out of the race, leaving Biden as the presumptive nominee. Sanders went further Monday, endorsing Biden in a show of unity aimed at rallying his supporters to help defeat Trump.
Wisconsin, like in the 2016 presidential election, is expected to play a key role in the outcome in November. Trump narrowly won the state four years ago over Democrat Hillary Clinton, the first time a Republican presidential candidate had won the state since 1984.
The U.S. does not conduct its presidential elections by popular vote, instead by the Electoral College, in which the outcomes in each of the 50 states help determine the national winner, with the biggest states holding the most votes.
While Wisconsin held its primary election last week, the results were delayed by a legal battle that saw Democratic Governor Tony Evers try to postpone voting due to the coronavirus outbreak, only to have his decision overturned by the state’s conservative-dominated supreme court.
Those who opposed going ahead with the vote said it made little public health sense to have people show up to polling places in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of would-be Election Day workers refused to keep their promise to show up at polling stations to check in voters off registration lists.
In Milwaukee, the state’s biggest city, only five of 180 polling stations were opened, with some voters forced to stand in line for up to 2 ½ hours to cast ballots. Health care workers handed out face masks to the voters, who mostly stayed at least two meters apart from others waiting in line.
The Republican-led legislature advocated holding the vote because many state and local offices were on the ballot and, absent a vote, would have left the positions vacant if the vote were postponed to June as Evers wanted to do.
Judges said voters could submit ballots by mail if they were postmarked by election day and received by Monday for counting.