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Democratic Voters Gather To Caucus In Alaska, Hawaii And Washington State

Buttons supporting Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, sit on a board ahead of a campaign event in Seattle on Friday. Washington, along with Alaska and Hawaii, is holding a Democratic caucus on Saturday.

Democratic voters are gathering for caucuses in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington State on Saturday.

The biggest prize of the night is Washington, where 118 delegates are up for grabs — Hawaii has 35, and Alaska has 20.

All three states are holding caucuses — where, as our Politics team puts it, "you don't vote with your fingers; you vote with your feet." Compared to primary elections, where voters just fill out a ballot, the caucus process rewards candidates with passionate supporters.

Bernie Sanders is expected to have a very good night, reports NPR's Tamara Keith.

"Sanders, with his enthusiastic young supporters, has had an advantage in caucus states," she tells our Newscast team. "And in Hawaii he got a high-profile endorsement from Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard."

And, John Ryan from member station KUOW in Seattle notes, Sanders has been beating Hillary Clinton in terms of fundraising in all three states.

But Clinton's lead means even a big win by Sanders on Saturday might not change the delegate math much. He'd need to win 58 percent of all the remaining pledged delegates to clinch the nomination.

And the Democratic primary awards delegates proportionally, with no winner-take-all states, which makes that margin of victory tough to achieve.

Caucuses start at 10 a.m. local time in Washington (1 p.m. ET), 10 a.m. local in Alaska (2 p.m. ET) and 1 p.m. local time in Hawaii (7 p.m. local time). The first results are expected to begin rolling in after 4 p.m. ET.

Follow live coverage at, and find a full calendar of upcoming primaries and caucuses here.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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