Most Americans are of the opinion that the electoral college system is outdated and that the President should be chosen based upon popular vote. One of the most alarming facets of the electoral college is the Superdelegate votes, and Democrats are looking to reduce the power of these individuals before 2020 vastly, ABC News reports.
The Problem With Superdelegates
Superdelegates are “elected officials and party leaders” who are free to support any candidate that they want for the presidential nomination despite pledged delegates, who support candidates based upon votes cast in local elections.
Obviously, the concentration of power in the hands of Superdelegates is problematic. All a candidate needs to do is cozy up to the Superdelegates to secure some votes, perhaps contrary to the will of the American people.
That is the exact opposite of democracy.
The unity commission, created during the 2016 Democratic National Convention, was tasked with limiting the party’s Superdelegate votes by two-thirds. When Democrats lost the election to Donald Trump last year, that committee’s mission dedicated itself to reevaluating the system as a whole.
Jeff Weaver, former Bernie Sanders campaign manager and member of the unity commission, said:
“One of the big problems you had in the 2016 election was that one candidate had 400 of more quote-unquote ‘delegates’ before a single voter had cast a vote.”
Voters have long suspected that Sanders was not given a fair shot in the primary by the Democratic establishment. The commission is working to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
“So you had Iowa, which was basically a tie, and after New Hampshire, the pledged delegates were close to even, but the reporting on TV was 400 for one [candidate] and 50 or 60 for the other candidate. It creates the perception of inevitability from the get-go.”
Party-Mandated Voter Suppression
The commission also wants to make it easier for voters to participate in caucus elections. Those elections currently require voters to be present and punctual or else face losing their opportunity to vote. The commission reportedly wants voters in these states to be able to cast absentee ballots, for states to use written votes to facilitate recounts, and for states to keep adequate records.
In addition to those measures, states will be recommended that they report statewide vote totals, not just the final number of delegates pledged to each candidate. Such practices hurt candidates who may have won 6 or 8 percent of the vote statewide, but not enough to secure a delegate, according to ABC.
Commission members rejected Sanders’ advocacy for open primaries across the board. Instead, a compromise was reached that would penalize states that require residents to switch their party affiliation before the primary.
That compromise is arguably not enough to curb voter suppression. Voters should be allowed to access any party’s ballot at any point in the election process. Any restrictions put in place can and will sway elections.
Another contested issue was budget transparency – sitting committee members are worried that transparency will tip off competitors. Here’s what that really means: The majority of the Democratic establishment is still intent on controlling voters instead of serving the American public.
But the harder voters push back, the more likely it is that change comes about quickly. Such conversations were not even on the table before last year’s election, and it is promising to see that change in action, one step at a time.
Featured Image Via ABC News.