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At State Convention, Vermont Democrats Change Delegate Rules For Next Cycle

Peter Hirschfeld
In a pre-recorded video message broadcast at the Vermont Democratic Convention in Barre Sunday, Sen. Bernie Sanders thanked members of the party for their support.

Vermont Democrats have decided to change this state’s role in the election of presidential candidates. The 2016 primary between Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton has soured many voters on the concept of superdelegates.

At their convention on Sunday, Vermont Democrats gave unanimous approval to a resolution that will require all of Vermont’s delegates to be apportioned based solely on the results of the state’s primary vote. Critics of superdelegates say they allow an elite few to have outsize influence on the nominating process.

While “pledged delegates” are now doled out according to the will of the electorate, superdelegates get to vote for the candidate they want, regardless of the results of the popular vote.

Vermont will send 26 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this July. Many of those delegates say they intend to push for changes to the superdelegate rules at the national level.

Terje Anderson won his bid Sunday to be Vermont’s next Democratic National Committeeman. His position will give him a seat at the national table when it comes time to consider reforms to Democrats’ presidential nominating process. Anderson says 2016 cycle has demonstrated the need to change the rules.

Critics of the nominating process have cited the debate schedule, voting rules and the prominence of superdelegates among their grievances.

They’ve leveled much of their anger against Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

“It’s been very frustrating for me … to watch what’s happened over the last several years with chairman Wasserman Schultz, who quite frankly is out of touch with our party’s grassroots,” Anderson said Sunday. “We need to make changes to this party that are profound.”

Anderson says he’ll urge the DNC to appoint a commission to examine delegate selection rules and the nominating process.

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