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Dems Reach Compromise After DNC Attempt to End Superdelegates

North Dakota has five superdelegates who can vote for whomever they choose at the DNC. (iStockphoto)
North Dakota has five superdelegates who can vote for whomever they choose at the DNC. (iStockphoto)
July 25, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. – The Democratic National Convention kicks off in Philadelphia today with an attempt to end the superdelegate system getting squashed.

Superdelegates are appointed by party leaders and vote for whomever they choose, regardless of who wins the presidential primary in their state. There are five in North Dakota.

On Saturday, the convention's rules committee rejected petitions signed by more than a half-million people calling for an end to superdelegates.

Rhode Island state Rep. Aaron Regunberg serves on the committee.

"It's really about making sure that the processes and structures of our party reflect our core values," he states.

The committee did agree to a compromise in the way of a unity commission, which will meet after the election to draft changes to the party's nominating process and possibly reduce the number of superdelegates by up to two-thirds.

The results in several states this year was a division of delegates that didn't accurately represent the distribution of votes between the candidates.

Although the superdelegates may not tip the balance at the convention, Regunberg says the process creates suspicion among the voters.

"The mere existence of this system creates a perception among a whole lot of our party's base that the political system is rigged in some ways," he points out.

Originally set at 14 percent of all delegates in 1984, over time their numbers grew and by 2008 a full 20 percent of all convention delegates were superdelegates.

Regunberg says the superdelegates have been increasingly unrepresentative of the diversity of the party as a whole.

"They skew whiter, they skew more male and they skew older than the pledged delegates, to say nothing of our party's voters," he explains.

A vote to approve the amendment could eliminate superdelegates in future presidential primaries, but would not change the delegate count at this year's convention.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - ND