Hawaii Democrats call for end to superdelegates
Hawaii Democrats did more than just elect new party leaders at their convention -- they also overwhelmingly supported a national party resolution.
HONOLULU - Hawaii Democrats sent a message to their national party to stop using superdelegates for the presidential election. Hawaii Democrats did more than just elect new party leaders at their convention -- they also overwhelmingly supported a national party resolution.
"It calls for abolishing superdelegates," said Tim Vandeveer, the newly-elected chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. He is also the state's newest superdelegate, so how does he feel about the resolution?
"It wasn't one that I helped to draft, but it is certainly one I support. The notion that someone, a superdelegate, would be protecting Hawaii's delegation from their own bad judgment or prevent an excessive outbreak of democracy is silly," said Vandeveer.
In elections, every vote counts. When it comes to electing a presidential candidate for the Democratic party, some votes count more than others -- namely votes from superdelegates.
Democratic candidates get delegates proportionally to popular votes at the caucus. Because 70 percent of the 33,655 voters picked Bernie Sanders, he got 17 delegates. Hillary Clinton won 30 percent of the votes, so she gets eight. Each of those delegates represent between 1,200 and 1,400 people who voted.
In addition to the 25 delegates, another 10 people are superdelegates. They can cast their ballot for whoever they wish. Those 10 individuals have the same influence as 12,000 voters and can make a big difference on the election -- unless things change.
"I see the superdelegate's role more as looking at the momentum of candidates, judging whether a candidate is involved in scandal, and also reflecting the will of voters," stated Vandeveer.
Another change that may come from the convention is fund raising for elections.
"Many believe politicians are out of touch and that's in large part because of special interests and big money in elections. My idea is to fund our party through grassroots support," said Vandeveer.
Instead of big checks written by a few connected people or companies before each election, Vandeveer would like to see smaller donations given more frequently throughout the year.
"What we'd like to see is a large number of individuals giving monthly or sustaining donations. These small donations would fund the party's work and keep people more engaged," said Vandeveer.
Possible changes to fund raising rules could also impact millions that come from the Democratic National Party.
The Democratic National Committee also sets the election requirements, according to Vandeveer, so getting rid of superdelegates would have to come from the national party and could not be done on the local level.