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World Map / Upcoming Elections around the world / USA / What are Delegates and Superdelegates

Delegates and Superdelegates


During the primary election process, candidates are selected by voters in each party in either a primary or a caucus.
As an indirect election, the votes cast on ballots in each state are not directly for the presidential candidate, but for a delegate who will support that candidate.

However, not all delegates are chosen by the public, and not all delegates are committed to a specific candidate. Though the number of pledged delegates is set, the number of unpledged delegates varies, even throughout the campaign.

Delegates play an important role in ensuring the success of a presidential candidate. The success of both the Democrat as well as the Republican candidates relies heavily on how many delegates they bag. On the Democratic side, a nominee will need to win a majority of the 4,132 delegates to the Democratic National convention. This includes pledged as well as unpledged. On the Republican side, the number of delegates is much less as compared to the Democrats. Here, in order to qualify as the Republican party’s 2016 presidential nominee, an aspirant will need to win the support of the majority of the 2,340 delegates to the GOP National Convention.

What are Delegates
Regular delegates, also known as pledged delegates, are chosen by voters during the primaries and caucuses in each state. Delegates act as representatives, voting on behalf of those who have elected them. Delegates can be pledged to a specific candidate, though they are not always legally bound to vote for that candidate. For this reason, these delegates are also called pledged delegates. The delegates are selected by the members of each party, under the expectation that they are loyal to the party and their pledged candidate. Party members can apply to their local parties become delegates, and are chosen at random by the state auditor. After the primaries and caucuses in each state, the delegates chosen from each state head to the national convention to formally submit their votes and choose their party’s nominee.



What are Superdelegates
Super delegates are delegates that are selected outside of primaries and caucuses. They are selected members of the political party, and many of them are past or present political leaders. Super delegates are chosen during the primary season and are not pledged to either candidate, meaning they are free to make their own decision.

The term “super delegates” usually refers to the practice followed by the Democratic Party, but some Republican Party delegates are also chosen to vote in a similar manner, not determined by primary and caucus results. When it was first used, the term held a negative connotation, as critics of the system felt that these delegates held too much power. A super delegate's vote is equal to the representation of a large number of people (by some records that number is 10,000). The system has been criticized, even called undemocratic, as super delegates can have a significant and disproportionate effect on the election’s outcome.

There are two types of super delegates that can vote at the Democratic National Convention. The first group are party leaders and elected officials (commonly known as PLEOs), who are prominent members of the party. The other super delegates are called “unpledged add-on delegates,” and are not necessarily leaders of the party, and may not have held an elected position. These super delegates are chosen by the state party. While most super delegates are allowed one vote, others may only be allotted a fraction of a vote.

State wise Delegates/Superdelegates


S.No.StateRepublican Democratic
1Alabama5060
2Alaska2820
3American Samoa910
4Arizona5885
5Arkansas4037
6California172546
7Colorado3779
8Connecticut2870
9Delaware1631
10District of Columbia1945
11Florida99246
12Georgia76117
13Guam912
14Hawaii1934
15Idaho3227
16Illinois69182
17Indiana5792
18Iowa3052
19Kansas4037
20Kentucky4660
21Louisiana4659
22Maine2330
23Maryland38118
24Massachusetts42116
25Michigan59147
26Minnesota3893
27Mississippi4041
28Missouri5284
29Montana2727
30Nebraska3630
31Nevada3043
32New Hampshire2332
33New Jersey51142
34New Mexico2443
35New York95291
36North Carolina72121
37North Dakota2823
38Northern Marianas911
39Ohio66159
40Oklahoma4342
41Oregon2874
42Pennsylvania71210
43Puerto Rico2367
44Rhode Island1933
45South Carolina5059
46South Dakota2925
47Tennessee5876
48Texas155252
49Utah4037
50Vermont1626
51Virgin Islands912
52Virginia49109
53Washington44118
54West Virginia3437
55Wisconsin4296
56Wyoming2918
57UnassignedNA3
58Democrats AbroadNA17
 Total2,4724,763

Last Updated on: June 02, 2016




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