By Linda Thigpin
The state of Florida is gearing up for choosing its delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) to be held on July 25–28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Penn. Florida’s Delegates, to the DNC, are allocated to each Presidential Campaign based on votes received from the March 15, 2016 Presidential Preference Primary.
Individuals seeking delegate positions had until April 7 to file application forms, pledging their loyalties to a presidential candidate.
After the April 7 deadline, each presidential campaign had until April 20 to review submissions and exercise the option to strike names from the list. The official list of accepted names were finalized and posted on Florida’s Democratic Party website on April 21.
Florida Party rules stipulate the process to select its delegates to the DN C as follows:
- The results of Florida’s March 15, 2016 presidential primary election will be used to apportion delegates to the national convention.
- On May 7, 2016, grassroots Democrats from each of Florida’s 27 congressional districts will meet in congressional district caucuses to elect 135 district-level delegates to the DNC.
- Following the congressional district caucuses, the Florida Democratic Party will hold a special meeting in Orlando, Florida, May 21, 2016, where the district-level dele-gates will meet to select 27 Pledged Party Leader and Elected Official (PLEO) Delegates, 45 At-Large Delegates, and 17 At-Large Alternates to the Democratic National Convention.
This aforementioned process, according to the party ensures, “all Democrats have a voice in the national convention and that this Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan will ensure that the Florida Democratic Party delegation will truly represent the tremendous diversity of Florida and the Democratic Party.”
Democratic voters in each congressional district are urged to participate in the election of their district’s congressional delegate. Unfortunately, most people do not even know that these district election caucuses even take place. Subsequently, some persons may be easily elected due to voter apathy or low voter turn-out. In most cases, the delegate elected will be the individual who is able to get most of their voters to come out from their congressional districts. Voters tend to know there is a Democratic National Convention and watch it on television, but few are aware of how delegates they see actually got there. The local Democratic Party should do their due diligence in communicating the delegate election cycle and there needs to be better voter education and information provided as to not disenfranchise anyone.
To be sure, the election of delegates is an important process. Delegates nominate the Party’s candidate for the President and Vice-President of the United States and will adopt the Party’s National Platform. Congressional District caucuses will began on May 7, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and early voting is scheduled in select Congressional Districts on Thurs-day, May 5, 2016.
It was my great honor to have cast my vote for President Obama serving as a delegate during the 2012 DNC in Charlotte, N.C. Now, running as a delegate candidate for Congressional District 23, it will be an honor, if granted an opportunity, to cast my vote for the first woman president of the United States.
All voters should engage in this process and come out to support their congressional district delegate candidates. Voting is generally quick and easy. Voters should bring a driver’s license or voter’s registration card. Questions about caucus voting times and locations can be directed to local Democratic Party State Committee Chairs.
Find the Delegate Selection Plan, Official District Level Delegates List as certified by respective Presidential Campaigns, Location and contact information for the 2016 Congressional District Caucuses, and Allocation of Delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention at www.fldems.org click on “Our party” and select National Convention.
This article was submitted by Linda M. Thigpen, Congressional District 23 Delegate Candidate for 2016 Democratic National Convention. As information was extracted from the Florida Democratic Party Delegate Selection Plan, readers are encouraged to read the comprehensive plan.