Vote for the candidate or the delegate? What’s the difference?

Now that it is clear the Pennsylvania Primary on Tuesday April 26th is likely to have an impact on the Presidential campaign, folks are beginning to wonder how the delegate vote actually works. That is a very good question. The answer is certainly not obvious from looking at a sample ballot, going to the internet, or watching cable TV. So, if you don’t know, you have a lot of company. Here is an attempt to clarify how things are done for the Democratic Presidential candidates:

Each voter votes for a presidential candidate. That is the vote that matters with regard to the delegate count. Because Pennsylvania is not a winner take all state, delegates will be apportioned based on the vote for the candidate. Each voter will also vote for not more than 7 delegates to the Democratic National Convention, 3 males and 4 females. Each of those delegates is pledged to one of the candidates. There you are voting for which delegates will get to go to the convention, NOT for the candidate. You have already voted for the candidate of your choice. For example, if Hillary gets 60% of the delegates, not all of her delegates will get to vote at the convention. Which delegates get to go will be determined by the vote for delegates. The delegates with the most votes will get to go.

For example, let’s say I vote for Bernie Sanders. Then I move to the right side of the ballot, where the delegates are listed. I know 4 women who are running for delegate, 3 committed to Bernie, and 1 for Hillary. I can vote for all 4. I am not limited just to Bernie delegates because I voted for Bernie. Then, I need to select 3 male delegates.

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