Monday, March 9, 2020

2020 Democratic Delegate Allocation: DEMOCRATS ABROAD


Election type: party-run primary
Date: March 3-10
Number of delegates: 17 [12 at-large, 1 PLEO, 4 automatic/superdelegates]
Allocation method: proportional globally
Threshold to qualify for delegates: 15%
2016: proportional (party-run) primary
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.

There are subtle changes to the rules in states and territories across the country, but for Democrats Abroad there were really no changes for the 2020 cycle relative to 2016. The dates for the global primary remained the same with the voting opening on Super Tuesday and concluding a week later. The delegation also remained the same size. There are 17 total delegates in the same 12 at-large, one PLEO and four superdelegates. [Eight superdelegates -- DNC members -- will go to the national convention as a part of the Democrats Abroad delegation, but will only have half a vote.]

The standard 15 percent qualifying threshold applies globally in this party-run primary.

Delegate allocation (at-large and PLEO delegates)
To win any at-large or PLEO (pledged Party Leader and Elected Officials) delegates a candidate must win 15 percent of the global vote. Only the votes of those candidates above the threshold will count for the purposes of the allocation of these delegates. In the case of Democrats Abroad, these 13 delegates are pooled and not allocated separately as they are in other states.

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

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.]

Nine of the 13 pledged delegates will be chosen at regional conventions to be held between April 14 and May 16. Regional conventions occur in 1) the Americas, 2) the Asia/Pacific region and 3) a Europe/Middle East/Africa region. How many of the nine delegates each region selects depends on the regional participation in the global primary in March. Slots are proportionally apportioned to a region based on the region's vote in the primary.

The remaining three at-large delegates and the one PLEO delegate are selected at the May 17 global convention. Those slots are used to balance the delegation to reflect the proportional allocation of delegates determined by the results of the March global primary.

Importantly, if a candidate drops out of the race before the selection of at-large or PLEO delegates, then any statewide delegates allocated to that candidate will be reallocated to the remaining candidates. If Candidate X is in the race in April and May when the Democrats Abroad delegate selection takes place but Candidate Y is not, then any statewide delegates allocated to Candidate Y in the March primary would be reallocated to Candidate X. [This same feature is not something that applies to district delegates.] This reallocation only applies if a candidate has fully dropped out. Candidates with suspended campaigns are still candidates and can fill those slots allocated them. This is unlikely to be a factor with just two viable candidates in the race.

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