Saturday, March 29, 2008

So, You Want to Be a Delegate

You just thought the Georgia Democratic Presidential Primary was over. The voting happened on February 5th, true enough, but the actual delegates-you know, the people who will go to the convention in August and actually vote for Clinton or Obama-will be elected in two phases in April and May. If you want to be a delegate for Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama, there's still time to file your paperwork to run for a slot, but, the clock's a-tickin'. There are two ways to get yourself elected, and both start with this application.

(1) One group of delegates will be elected on April 19th in congressional district-level caucuses. For those slots, you must file your application by April 4th. You can find the application here, and here you will find detailed instructions about the process.

(2) A group of "at large" delegates will be elected at a meeting of the State Committee of the Democratic Party of Georgia on May 24th. For that election, you need to file your application by May 15th.

For the first round of voting, delegates are apportioned based on the performance of a given candidate in each congressional district. So, for example, in the 8th congressional district, Hillary Clinton gets one delegate, a female, and any registered voter who is a democrat, a female and lives in the 8th congressional district may run. Similarly, in the 8th, Obama gets two male delegates, one female delegate and one female alternate.

There's one BIG "but" in the process. Would-be delegates run to represent a specific candidate-Clinton or Obama. Once the applications to run for delegate are received by the state party, the presidential campaigns have the opportunity to go through the applicants and mark anyone they wish off the list. Given the slim margin between Clinton and Obama and the little-known fact that none of the elected delegates are actually bound to vote for a particular candidate, you can bet you booties that the campaigns will carefully scrutinize those lists and only allow people to run who they are familiar with and whose support is unquestioned. That's what happened in Alabama. As someone said to me when I was in Chicago-if you want to be an Obama delegate, you'd better bleed Obama Blue. It's possible, though I don't know how likely, that the campaigns will simply pick one person per slot and mark everyone else off the list. We'll see.

I will say this. At the delegate training in Macon and since, I have seen brand new Democratic faces, and that's great. I hope we have a couple dozen people who apply for every slot and that they all get to run. That would be very cool.

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