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NHDP Helps Reform Superdelegates, Maintains New Hampshire’s First-in-the-Nation Primary Status

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Democratic Party’s Chairman Ray Buckley, Executive Director Amy Kennedy, and DNC Committee Members and Attorneys Kathy Sullivan and Bill Shaheen, attended the Democratic National Committee meeting over the past week in Chicago. At the meeting, they attended trainings, strategy sessions, helped to reform the function of superdelegates in the Party’s nomination process to make the democratic process accessible to everyone, and secured New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status.

“This is a package of reforms that will make our primaries and caucuses more inclusive, transparent, fair, and welcoming to grassroots Democrats – changes we can all get behind,” said Chairman Ray Buckley. “It is important to remember that the superdelegate vote has never determined the nominee, and the only way superdelegates have ever influenced our nominating process is by creating the perception that the votes of party insiders matter more than those of grassroots voters. We must end this perception.” The following reforms were proposed by the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee and the DNC’s Unity Reform Commission, a body created by delegates for the DNC’s 2016 convention:

  • Expanding the use of primaries and encouraging same-day registration and party switching.

  • Making caucuses more accessible to those who are traditionally unable to participate.

  • Making it easier, not harder, for eligible people to participate in our democratic process

  • Empowering the grassroots by revising the role of unpledged delegates and reducing the influence of superdelegates in order to remove any doubt about respecting the will of the people.

  • Increasing transparency of the DNC’s budget and operations

The full DNC voted in March to significantly reduce the influence of superdelegates, an issue that Democrats have been dealing with for more than a decade, and one that the Unity Reform Commission publicly debated for 6 months. After 80 hours of public debate, the Rules and Bylaws Committee nearly unanimously supported a proposal that would respect the will of the voters. Under this proposal, superdelegates would refrain from voting on the first presidential nominating ballot unless a candidate has enough votes from pledged delegates (based on the outcomes of primaries and caucuses) that superdelegates wouldn’t overturn the will of the people. The RBC proposal required a majority vote from the full DNC at today’s meeting.

“This is about winning elections,” continued Chairman Buckley. “By stepping up and reassuring the American people that DNC members are fighting, first and foremost, for hardworking families, we can inspire more voters, especially young and unaffiliated voters, to stand united with Democrats. When united, we can put all of our organizing energy and might into winning every possible seat in every community, in every state.”

The delegation also successfully secured New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status. Dating back to 1920, this status has encouraged civic engagement across the Granite State, granting constituents an opportunity to have close contact with candidates, whether through forums, debates, or grassroots organizing.*


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