Friday, October 05, 2007

Utah Democrats Explain How to Become a National Delegate

SALT LAKE CITY — Earlier this year the Utah State Democratic Party adopted the Utah State Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The plan outlines the requirements for individuals wishing to run for delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, as well as guidelines to which the Utah State Democratic Party must adhere throughout the delegate selection process. Between now and the November 7, 2007, the Utah State Democratic Party will hold a series of workshops on how to become a national delegate.

“The decision earlier this year to hold Utah’s second presidential primary has sparked a lot of interest in becoming a delegate to next year’s national convention,” said Wayne Holland, Chair of the Utah Democratic Party. “The presidential candidates have been coming to visit and are creating campaign organizations here. People are getting excited about next year’s elections. Over the next few months we’ll be holding a series of classes on how to become a national delegate for those who are interested.”

Three classes are currently scheduled:

Congressional District 1 meeting

October 6, 2007 - Sherwood Hills Resort
7877 S. Hwy 89-91
Wellsville, UT (between Brigham City and Logan)
4:00 PM

Congressional District 2 meeting

Room 255 – Orson Spencer Hall
U of U Campus
(UofU College Dems to host)
October 17, 2007 8:00 PM

Congressional District 3 meeting

Room 240, Spencer W. Kimball Bldg. – BYU campus
(BYU College Democrats to host)
October 18, 2007 7:30 PM

The state of Utah will be allotted 29 delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Five of the 29 are automatically allocated to party leaders. The other 24 positions will be elected at the Utah State Democratic Party Convention to be held on May 9-10, 2008. The plan allocates delegates according to population in each of Utah's three congressional districts and prior Democratic voting percentages. It also provides for allocation of the delegates to Democratic presidential candidates based on the presidential preference vote at the February 5, 2008 Western States Presidential Primary.

Attached to this release is a copy of the plan and a brief summary (including a map of the congressional districts) that will be distributed to potential delegate candidates to help them understand the importance of the national convention and get them involved in the process of selecting or becoming a candidate for national delegate. For more information please contact Bill Keshlear or Todd Taylor at 801/328-1212.


On Monday, August 25, 2008 the Democratic National Convention will convene at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado to select nominees for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States of America, to adopt a platform, and to take other such actions as the Convention may deem advisable. The Convention is expected to adjourn on Thursday, August 28, 2008.

Because of the considerable interest in participating in the National Convention, the following brief overview explains how delegates to the National Convention are selected and other points you should be aware of in order to run for a delegate position.


A plan describing how delegates are chosen will be written by each of the 50 state Democratic Parties (plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Virgin Islands and Democrats Abroad). These Delegate Selection Plans will comply with rules adopted by the National Party that provide guidelines to ensure a fair and open process. States are required to divide their National Convention delegation equally between men and women. In addition, each plan must include an affirmative action program to reach out to all Democrats.

The plan adopted by the Utah State Democratic Committee on April 27, 2007 was officially approved by the National Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee at their meeting on June 30, 2007 in Washington, DC. The plan is twenty-eight pages without attachments and can be obtained from the Utah State Democratic Party at 455 South 300 East, Suite 301 in Salt Lake City, Utah or at our web site at

The Utah Democratic Party will send a total of thirty-six people to the National Convention. There will twenty-nine delegates, four alternates, two pages and the State Party Executive Director.


Each state is allocated a certain number of delegates to the convention, based on its population and Democratic voting strength. There are four types of delegates, as briefly described below:

Pledged District-Level Delegates - Fifteen of Utah's twenty-nine delegates are allocated among Utah's three Congressional Districts. The 1st Congressional District will elect three male and two female delegates to the National Convention. The 2nd Congressional District will elect three male and three female delegates. And, the 3rd Congressional District will elect two male and two female delegates. Each district-level delegate pledges support to the presidential candidate of his or her choice. This is the first category of delegates to be elected at the State Convention to be held on May 9-10, 2008. Any Democrat is eligible to run for one of these positions.

Pledged Party Leader and Elected Official (PLEO) Delegates - Three delegate positions are reserved for Democratic Party leaders and elected officials who pledge support to a presidential candidate. Priority consideration for these positions will be given to the following Democrats: big city mayors, statewide elected officials, state legislative leaders, state legislators, and other state, county and local elected officials and party leaders. These delegates are elected by the District-Level Delegates at the State Convention after the one add-on unpledged delegate.

Pledged At-Large Delegates - The final group of delegates chosen is the at-large delegates, who can come from anywhere in the state. In Utah, there are five of these delegates. These are pledged delegates. Any Democrat is eligible for one of these positions. They will be elected on a ballot voted by all of the State Delegates after the selection of all the other categories of delegates.

Unpledged Delegates - At least five individuals in each state will go to the convention as "unpledged" delegates, because they are not required to officially support any specific presidential candidate. Utah has six of these unpledged delegates. Five of the six are Congressman Jim Matheson, the State Party Chair, Vice Chair, National Committeeman, and National Committeewoman. In addition, there will be one add-on unpledged delegate elected by the District-Level Delegates at the State Convention.

All registered voters in Utah who registered as Democrats or unaffiliated on their voter registration form will be allowed to cast a vote for their preference for presidential candidate at a presidential primary election to be held on February 5, 2008. The pledged delegate positions will be allocated to each presidential candidate who receives more than 15% of the vote in proportion to the percentage of vote they receive at the primary election.

Later in the year, all Democrats who will be eligible to vote in the 2008 general election will be encouraged to attend a precinct caucus. These caucuses will be held in each of the 1,900+ neighborhood precincts in the state on the evening of March 25, 2008. The caucus will choose delegates to the Democratic County Convention and, possibly, the State Convention. This is important because, ultimately, the delegates to the County Convention elect delegates to the State Convention whether it is in a direct election at the County Convention or by confirming those delegates to the State Convention chosen at caucuses. The delegates at the State Convention will in turn elect the delegates to the National Convention.

The County Party Conventions, where delegates will be elected to the State Convention, will take place sometime between March 26th and May 8th of 2008. The State Convention, where delegates to the National Convention will be elected, will be held on May 9-10, 2008 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.


All but one of these delegates has already been elected. That one delegate will be elected by the District-Level Delegates in a meeting at the State Convention. The other five positions are reserved for Congressman Jim Matheson, the State Party Chair, Vice Chair, and our two National Committee members.


To run, an individual must file a written declaration on candidacy and sign a "pledge" of support for a particular presidential candidate. Forms will be available from the Utah State Democratic Party on March 26, 2008. District -Level pledged delegates must file this pledge and statement of candidacy by 5:00 PM on April 9, 2008. All other delegate candidates are encouraged to file by April 9, 2008 at 5:00 pm in order to have their name printed on ballots; but, candidates for Unpledged Add-On and Pledged Party Leaders and Elected Officials (PLEOs) National Delegates may file at the State Convention immediately after the selection of the District-Level Delegates.

Candidates for National Delegate should carefully review this summary and the "Utah State Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan for the 2008 Democratic National Convention" for specific information about when and where the required documentation must be filed. Copies of the plan and this summary may obtained from the Utah State Democratic Committee at 455 South 300 East #102, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111 or at

The name of each person who signed up to run as a delegate pledged to a presidential candidate will be given to the presidential candidates (or his or her authorized representative), before the selection takes place. The presidential candidate (or representative) has the right to approve or disapprove anyone who signs a pledge of support for him or her. This being the case, it is important for delegate candidates to work for, and be in contact with, the presidential campaign the delegate candidate is supporting. Delegate candidates should talk to the presidential candidate's local campaign officials about becoming one of the delegates.

In order to vote for National Delegates who are pledged to a presidential candidate, delegates to the State Convention will be required to sign a statement of support for that candidate. Those delegates who sign such a statement will meet in a presidential preference caucus at the State Convention to elect the District-Level delegates to the National Convention.

The one unpledged and three PLEO delegates to the National Convention will be elected by District-Level Delegates attending the State Convention.

Keep in mind that the delegation is equally divided between men and women. When there is an odd number of delegate positions available in a category, the position may only be available to individuals from a single gender group.

Be sure to understand how the delegates are selected. Make sure that you understand by reading this summary or the complete plan the following items: What type of meeting will be held to select delegates to the National Convention? Who will make the selection? When and where will the selecting body meet? Then remember that this is a political position and it is important to campaign among those who are likely to attend the selection meeting. It's not enough that a candidate wins delegate positions, delegate candidates need to actively campaign to be chosen to fill one of the positions.

Register to Vote. In order to participate in the precinct caucus or as a delegate to the County, State or National Conventions, you must be eligible to vote in the 2008 general election. You must participate in good faith as a Democrat and not participate in another party's nomination process in 2008.

Know the Delegate Selection Rules. Obtain a copy of this summary or Utah's National Delegate Selection Plan and read them. Call the Utah State Democratic Party if you have any questions. Make sure you understand the rules.

Identify Which Presidential Candidate to Support and Become Involved in His or Her Campaign. Each campaign is looking for supporters to run for delegate and alternate positions. Delegate candidates should get involved in the campaign early. Persons interested in running for delegate should discuss their campaign strategies with the presidential campaign organizers. Delegate candidates should work hard for their presidential candidate and get others organized to support the candidate.

Meet the Filing Deadlines Required by the Delegate Selection Plan. All states, including Utah, require delegate candidates to file a "declaration of candidacy" in order to run. The deadline for this declaration varies for the type of delegate position you may be seeking. In general, it is April 9, 2008, but some may take place at the State Convention. All filing requirements must be met in order to run.

Persuade Democrats to Support a Presidential Candidate and the Delegate Candidate. The number of votes a presidential candidate receives in the caucus is directly related to the number of delegate positions he or she will be awarded for the National Convention. Delegate candidates should identify potential voters for the presidential candidate and ...

Get Out the Vote! Delegate candidates should contact all of their supporters during the last week before the caucus and make sure they know when and where to vote. If necessary, arrange for transportation. In order to be successful in this final step, be sure to Get Out the Vote!

Finally: Whether successful or not in becoming a delegate to the 2008 National Convention -- stay informed and involved. Be sure to: 1) stay informed about the presidential campaign; 2) follow the convention; 3) support the Party's presidential and vice presidential nominees; and, 4) VOTE ON ELECTION DAY!


The Convention is operated by the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) which can be contacted by mail at 1560 Broadway, Suite 1175 in Denver, Colorado 80202 or by telephone at (720) 362-2008. The DNCC is authorized to plan, arrange, manage and conduct the 2008 Democratic National Convention by selecting contractors; allocating hotel facilities for delegations; seating of delegates, alternates, and visitors; providing for credentials; limiting floor access; communications within the convention hall; arranging facilities for presidential candidates, the news media and security; and, making the necessary financial reports to the Federal Election Commission.


Voice of Utah said...

Not to sound cynical (heaven forbid), but we've always assumed that party insiders pretty much always get these delegate slots. Have there been any instances in which an average Jo(e) has been elected a national delegate?

republican senator larry craig said...

You'll have to pry this toilet seat, out of my cold, dead hands!

republican senator larry craig said...

alienated wannabe:

You seem like my kind of gay, I mean guy. Do you want to go do the public toilet toe tap with me?

Richard W. said...

To voice:
Actually, there instances that the average Joe can be elected. Every 4 years, there are a few that are elected. The reason that insiders usually get elected is because they are more visible to the delegates. The best way for an avg joe is to be actively involved in a presidential candidate's campaign.
That's the basics of running for a National delegate spot.

Nikki said...

Thanks for putting together all this info!

Anonymous said...

yes, thank you.