July 22, 2019
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At Maine convention, Democrats to vote on eliminating superdelegates

LUCAS JACKSON | REUTERS
LUCAS JACKSON | REUTERS
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens to Sen. Bernie Sanders speak during a Democratic debate hosted by CNN and New York One at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York April 14, 2016.

Maine Democrats will vote on a rule change at this weekend’s state convention that could reshape future presidential contests.

The proposed change could also prompt a floor fight between supporters of presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Portland state Rep. Diane Russell, who is introducing the rule, is hopeful that the fight won’t happen, but that so-called superdelegates will be eliminated in 2020.

“We have a system of government where you have one person, one vote, by and large,” Russell says. “The primary system is not when that happens. And I think that we need to start moving toward a system that’s more fair, that’s more democratic and more reflective of the popular vote.”

Complaints about superdelegates arise nearly every presidential year. That’s because superdelegates are not bound to support the winner of a state’s caucus or primary when they vote at the national convention.

Russell’s amendment would change that in 2020, making it so all delegates, including superdelegates, are allocated proportionately to a state’s caucus results. Also, her amendment would send a nonbinding but “strong suggestion” that this year’s delegates vote according to this year’s Maine caucus results.

In March Sanders defeated Clinton with 64 percent of the vote.

Russell said that some Sanders supporters want the delegate allocation to occur this year. That could cause a floor fight.

She said she won’t support the immediate change because it could put Maine out of compliance with rules set by the Democratic National Committee.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

 



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