N.H. Democrats Vote to Reform Superdelegate System In Time for 2020 Elections

Jun 20, 2016

Some Bernie Sanders supporters protested the superdelegate system outside of the New Hampshire Democrats' state convention this weekend.
Credit Casey McDermott, NHPR

Following outcry over the role of superdelegates in the party’s presidential nomination, New Hampshire Democrats voted to reform the delegate selection process ahead of the 2020 presidential primary. 

The approved resolution, in part, states: "we encourage all NH members of the DNC to use their influence with their colleagues to address the many concerns that have been expressed regarding Unpledged Automatic Delegates and successfully work to reform the delegate selection process in a manner that respects both NH Primary voters and our leadership in time for the 2020 First in the Nation Presidential Primary. "

Unlike pledged delegates, who are typically bound to support a specific candidate at the national convention and awarded based on the outcome of a state's primary or caucus, superdelegates have the freedom to back a candidate even if that person didn’t win their state’s contest. In most cases, superdelegates are party leaders or other elected officials. 

Many Bernie Sanders supporters, in particular, have called out the superdelegate system as undemocratic and have argued that they have unfairly influenced the outcome of the 2016 election.

The resolution approved by New Hampshire Democrats at their party convention this weekend calls on the state’s Democratic National Committee members to address the concerns that have been raised about superdelegates and to work toward reforming the delegate selection process. 

At the convention, 329 people voted for the measure and 83 voted against it.