Skip to Content

Democratic Officials Are Fighting to Reform the Superdelegate System

Hillary Clinton Holds Primary Night Event In Brooklyn, New YorkHillary Clinton Holds Primary Night Event In Brooklyn, New York
Hillary Clinton arrives onstage during a primary night rally.Photo by Drew Angerer—Getty Images

An amendment was voted on this weekend by the Democratic party’s Rules Committee that would have eliminated superdelegates in the nominating process.

With a vote of 108 to 58, the amendment failed to pass at the committee meeting in Philadelphia on Saturday, the Huffington Post reports. However, supporters of the effort don’t appear to be giving up. Since more than a quarter of the committee voted in support of the amendment, they can file a “minority report” that would allow it to be voted on at the Democratic National Convention among all the delegates. The convention begins on Monday.

Representative Aaron Regunberg, the committee member responsible for introducing the amendment, told the Huffington Post that its supporters are “not going to be satisfied until we’re able to bring this for a national vote.” Many argue that the superdelegate system is partly why Bernie Sanders was unable to win the Democratic nomination, and some even referred to the system as “rigged.” That notion is only strengthened by leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee that showed party officials mocking efforts by Sanders and his supporters to abolish the superdelegate system, calling it “another lunacy.”

“We want to make sure in future nominating processes that it is one person, one vote,” Regunberg said. “I can’t think of a better step as far as uniting our party… than passing this resolution.” Representative Diane Russell echoed his statement. “This isn’t about Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, this is about the nominating process,” she told the Huffington Post. “One person should have one vote. This is creating an unnecessary class divide in our party.”

The committee voted on another amendment that would have reduced the influence of super delegates, rather than eliminating them entirely. It also failed to pass, by a similar margin.

Representative Sheila Jackson, one opponent of the reform, claims that the superdelegate system promotes diversity, though some argue that it has the opposite effect. Another opponent, Representative Donna Christian-Christensen, said that perhaps the system isn’t perfect, but this simply is not the time to implement any changes, saying that “rushing to judgment, especially at a time when emotions are running high, is not the right way.”