Tuesday, February 25, 2020

2020 Democratic Delegate Allocation: AMERICAN SAMOA


Election type: territorial caucuses
Date: March 3
Number of delegates: 11 [6 at-large delegates, 5 automatic/superdelegates]
Allocation method: proportional territory-wide
Threshold to qualify for delegates: 15%
2016: territorial caucuses
Delegate selection plan

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.

Democrats in the American Samoa kept their Super Tuesday position on the 2020 primary calendar, keeping the territory on Super Tuesday for the fourth consecutive cycle. One difference over 2016 is that American Samoa gained one more superdelegate to bring the total delegation to 11. But the number of pledged delegates remained constant (under DNC rules for the territories), and outside of the additional superdelegate, much remains the same in 2020 as it was in 2016 in the Pacific territory.

The standard 15 percent qualifying threshold applies territory-wide for the allocation of the six 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 the American Samoa and as such there are no district delegates to allocate in the March 3 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 six at-large delegates to the national convention from American Samoa will be selected at the March 3 territory-wide caucuses. Delegate candidates are to have filed by March 3 and will be selected in proportion to the vote of qualifying candidates in the caucuses.

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