Sunday, May 24, 2020

**UPDATED** 2020 Democratic Delegate Allocation: PENNSYLVANIA


Election type: primary
Date: June 2
    [April 28 originally]
Number of delegates: 210 [41 at-large, 20 PLEOs, 125 congressional district, 24 automatic/superdelegates]
Allocation method: proportional statewide and at the congressional district level
Threshold to qualify for delegates: 15%
2016: proportional primary
Delegate selection plan [includes post-coronavirus plans]

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.

For much of the post-reform era, the consolidated primary in Pennsylvania has occupied the final Tuesday in April spot on the primary calendar. Only once has the state strayed from that date and that was two decades ago in 2000. Even then, the move was only up a few weeks to the first Tuesday in April (in an era when most states that moved were pushing into March).

But that changed once the coronavirus pushed itself into the 2020 electoral landscape. Like all the other Acela primary states that had carved out that late April calendar position for a regional primary among themselves, Pennsylvania decision makers opted to move the primary back in the interest of public health. And like Maryland and Rhode Island (and initially Connecticut and Delaware before each moved a second time), the primary in the Keystone state ended up on June 2. This will be the latest position Pennsylvania has occupied on the presidential primary calendar in the post-reform era.

Unlike Maryland and Rhode Island, Pennsylvania made no effort to move to an all-mail election on that date. Elections officials in some Pennsylvania counties pushed for that change, but it was never enacted. What did change between 2016 and 2020 in Pennsylvania election administration was the introduction of no-excuse absentee voting. And that has been pushed since the breakout of the pandemic. Voters, in turn, are responding.

All mail-in ballots are due to county elections offices locations on or before 8pm on Tuesday, June 2 for most counties throughout the commonwealth. **UPDATE (6/1/20): Governor Wolf (D) will issue an executive order extending the due date for absentee ballots in some counties for the primary to Tuesday, June 9. All mail-in ballots will be due to county elections offices by 8pm on Tuesday, June 9.**

Overall, the Democratic delegation in Pennsylvania did not change at all from 2016 to 2020. However, the number of pledged delegates decreased by three -- two district delegates and one at-large delegate -- while the number of superdelegates increased by three.

[Please see below for more on the post-coronavirus changes specifically to the delegate selection process.]

The standard 15 percent qualifying threshold applies both statewide and on the congressional district level.

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 statewide vote. Only the votes of those candidates above the threshold will count for the purposes of the separate allocation of these two pools of 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)
Pennsylvania's 125 congressional district delegates are split across 18 congressional districts and have a variation of 10 delegates across districts from the measure of Democratic strength Pennsylvania Democrats are using based on the results of the 2016 presidential and 2018 gubernatorial elections in the state. That method apportions delegates as follows...
CD1 - 8 delegates
CD2 - 8 delegates
CD3 - 14 delegates
CD4 - 10 delegates
CD5 - 9 delegates*
CD6 - 8 delegates
CD7 - 7 delegates*
CD8 - 6 delegates
CD9 - 4 delegates
CD10 - 7 delegates*
CD11 - 5 delegates*
CD12 - 4 delegates
CD13 - 4 delegates
CD14 - 5 delegates*
CD15 - 4 delegates
CD16 - 5 delegates*
CD17 - 8 delegates
CD18 - 9 delegates*

*Bear in mind that districts with odd numbers of national convention delegates are potentially important to winners (and those above the qualifying threshold) within those districts. Rounding up for an extra delegate initially requires less in those districts than in districts with even numbers of delegates. The 10 delegate variation among congressional districts is among the largest in the country.

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 selection of Pennsylvania's 125 district delegates was not really affected by the advent of the coronavirus. They are all directly elected on the presidential primary ballot. All that happened was that the date of selection shifted from April 28 to June 2 when the primary date was changed. PLEO and at-large delegate selection was also similarly impacted. Although those statewide delegates are not on the ballot, their time of selection was pushed back about a month from June 13 to sometime before July 18. The Democratic State Committee will continue to be the body that selects those two groups of pledged delegates. As of this writing, it is not specified whether that committee meeting will take place virtually or in person, but that section of the delegate selection plan reads like the meeting will take place in person. However, those plans would seemingly hinge on where things stand with the coronavirus.

[Initially, Pennsylvania's district delegates were to have been selected on the April 28 primary ballot and the statewide delegates on June 13 at a meeting of the state central committee. The coronavirus shifted both back on the calendar.]

Importantly, if a candidate drops out of the race before the selection of statewide delegates, then any statewide delegates allocated to that candidate will be reallocated to the remaining candidates. If Candidate X is in the race in mid-July when the Pennsylvania statewide delegate selection takes place but Candidate Y is not, then any statewide delegates allocated to Candidate Y in the early June 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.  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 statewide delegates by finishing with more than 15 percent statewide. Under a new deal struck between the Biden and Sanders camps, Biden will be allocated (or reallocated) all of the statewide 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 statewide vote.

No comments: