Friday, June 5, 2020

2020 Democratic Delegate Allocation: GUAM


Election type: territorial caucuses
Date: June 6
    [May 2 originally]
Number of delegates: 13 [7 at-large delegates, 6 automatic/superdelegates]
Allocation method: proportional territory-wide
Threshold to qualify for delegates: 15%
2016: territorial caucuses (proportional)
Delegate selection plan (post-coronavirus)

Changes since 2016
If one followed the 2016 series on the Republican process here at FHQ, then you may end up somewhat disappointed. The two national parties manage the presidential nomination process differently. The Republican National Committee is much less hands-on in regulating state and state party activity in the delegate selection process than the Democratic National Committee is. That leads to a lot of variation from state to state and from cycle to cycle on the Republican side. Meanwhile, the DNC is much more top down in its approach. Thresholds stay the same. It is a 15 percent barrier that candidates must cross in order to qualify for delegates. That is standard across all states. The allocation of delegates is roughly proportional. Again, that is applied to every state.

That does not mean there are no changes. The calendar has changed as have other facets of the process such as whether a state has a primary or a caucus.

Changes have not exactly been plentiful in Guam over the years with respect to how Democrats in the US territory allocate and select their delegates to the national convention. After all there are only so many ways to conduct that process with a small number of people and with only seven at-large delegates to allocate and select.

But the coronavirus forced Guam Democrats out of their comfort zone and out of the party's first Saturday in May calendar position; the one typically set aside for presidential caucuses. Some time during March or April the territorial party made the decision to indefinitely postpone the caucuses due to the spread of the pandemic. And it was not until June 3 that the party submitted and had approved by the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee a revised delegate selection plan.

That plan basically looks like a normal Guam Democratic Party delegate selection plan. The party will caucus on June 6, gauge presidential preference and allocate delegates in proportion to the share of the qualified vote (15 percent or more) each candidate receives. Given the time available, the party indicates in the plan, it will not be able to conduct any mail-in voting. The Saturday, June 6 caucuses, then, will be an in-person affair among registered Guam Democrats. [Prospective voters can registered at the caucuses.] Additionally, a drive-thru option will be available in some caucus locations.

The standard 15 percent qualifying threshold applies territory-wide for the allocation of the seven at-large delegates.

Delegate allocation (at-large)
To win any at-large delegates a candidate must win 15 percent of the territory-wide vote in the caucuses. Only the votes of those candidates above the threshold will count for the purposes of the allocation of those delegates.

See New Hampshire synopsis for an example of how the delegate allocation math works for all categories of delegates.

Delegate allocation (congressional district delegates)
There are no congressional districts or other subdivisions within Guam and as such there are no district delegates to allocate in the June 6 caucuses.

Delegate allocation (automatic delegates/superdelegates)
Superdelegates are free to align with a candidate of their choice at a time of their choosing. While their support may be a signal to voters in their state (if an endorsement is made before voting in that state), superdelegates will only vote on the first ballot at the national convention if half of the total number of delegates -- pledged plus superdelegates -- have been pledged to one candidate. Otherwise, superdelegates are locked out of the voting unless 1) the convention adopts rules that allow them to vote or 2) the voting process extends to a second ballot. But then all delegates, not just superdelegates will be free to vote for any candidate.

[NOTE: All Democratic delegates are pledged and not bound to their candidates. They are to vote in good conscience for the candidate to whom they have been pledged, but technically do not have to. But they tend to because the candidates and their campaigns are involved in vetting and selecting their delegates through the various selection processes on the state level. Well, the good campaigns are anyway.]

The seven at-large delegates to the national convention from Guam will be selected at the June 6 territory-wide caucuses. Delegate candidates were to have filed by May 30 and will be selected in proportion to the vote of qualifying candidates in the caucuses.

Importantly, if a candidate drops out of the race before the selection of territory-wide delegates, then any territory-wide delegates allocated to that candidate will be reallocated to the remaining candidates. However, given the simultaneity of the allocation and selection on June 6 in Guam, that means that there is no real potential for reallocation of those territory-wide delegates. This reallocation would only applyi if a candidate has fully dropped out.  This is less likely to be a factor with just Biden left as the only viable candidate in the race, but Sanders could still gain territory-wide delegates by finishing with more than 15 percent territory-wide. Under a new deal struck between the Biden and Sanders camps, Biden will be allocated (or reallocated) all of the territory-wide delegates in a given state. However, during the selection process, the state party will select Sanders-aligned delegate candidates in proportion to the share of the qualified territory-wide vote.

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