Bonus Delegates

Summary:  An estimated 211 bonus delegates will be allocated to locations holding their 2020 contest in April or later. This increases the number of total delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination.

The Democratic Party uses bonus delegates to reward any location* that schedules its nominating contest later in the calendar.  A 10% bonus goes to states that will hold their contest in April, 2020, with 20% awarded to those that wait until May or June. Separately, states that hold their primary after March 24th can get a 15% bonus for participating in a 'regional cluster' - basically holding their event on the same date as at least two neighboring states (as defined by the party rules).

The bonuses are additive. For example, if a state holds its primary in April and participates in a regional cluster it would receive a 25% bonus (10% + 15%). The bonus percentage is then multiplied by the Total Base Delegates** that the state was originally allocated to get the bonus delegates.  

These additional delegates are pledged, meaning they will be able to vote on the first ballot at the Democratic Convention. In 2020, there will be an estimated 211 bonus delegates across 24 locations. Over half of these will be allocated to the six east coast states holding a regional primary on April 28th. (Note that the New York date of April 28 is still tentative).

As a result of the bonus delegates, the total number of pledged delegates is increasing to 3,979 from 3,768. This increases the 'magic number' to win on the first ballot from 1,885 to 1,990.  Adding 766 superdelegates brings the total to 4,745, a majority of which is 2,373. 

* There are 57 locations that hold nominating contests:  the 50 states, 5 territories, District of Columbia, and Democrats Abroad

** Total Base Delegates are approximately 85% of total pledged delegates. These are split, where applicable, with approximately 75% allocated to the state's congressional districts, 25% at-large (based on the statewide vote). Any bonus delegates are split proportionately this same way. (The other 15% of a location's pledged delegates are in a separate category for party leaders and elected officials (PLEO). These PLEO delegates are at-large).





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