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IL Delegate: Superdelegate System Fails Voters

Critics of superdelegates say the system does not accurately represent how Illinois voters feel about the presidential candidates. (iStockphoto)
Critics of superdelegates say the system does not accurately represent how Illinois voters feel about the presidential candidates. (iStockphoto)
July 25, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Ahead of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia today the party took a small step that could limit the role of convention superdelegates.

Some Illinois delegates say more changes are sorely needed.

Illinois has 26 superdelegates who are appointed by party leaders and vote for whichever candidate they choose, regardless of who wins the state presidential primary.

Critics have long said the process can favor a candidate who is actually unpopular with voters.

Jan Rodolfo, an Illinois delegate for Bernie Sanders, backed a plan to eliminate superdelegates altogether, but that idea was shot down.

"I'm a supporter of one person, one vote,” she states. “And I think that superdelegates are really a class of party members who have undue weight, in terms of the way that their votes work. It really reinforces the status quo."

On Saturday, the DNC's Rules Committee agreed to set up a commission to meet after the November election. The group will consider changes to the party's nominating process, including getting rid of up to two-thirds of superdelegates.

If the last round of primaries and caucuses had not included superdelegates, Rodolfo says Bernie Sanders would likely have become the Democratic nominee, which could have brought about changes to the party's platform.

"If that were the case, then the situation going to the Democratic Platform Committee would've been very different,” she points out. “Instead of a platform that, for example, completely failed to address the need for single-payer Medicare for all, which is something that the majority of Democrats support, that wouldn't have happened."

Still, even if the commission does support eliminating some superdelegates, the idea would still need approval from the DNC committee, which has squashed similar moves in the past.




Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - IL