Democrats Consider Changes to Election Rules

Posted August 20, 2008 at 2:58pm

On the heels of a bitterly divided 2008 Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and the Democratic National Committee on Wednesday laid out a series of changes to ensure a smoother selection of the party’s next nominee in 2012.

Obama and the DNC proposed creating a commission to recommend new rules for how delegates are picked and a new schedule for the primary elections, which in 2008 were heavily front-loaded in January and February. The plan will be presented to the Democratic Convention Rules Committee this Saturday, two days before the official nominating event kicks off.

Among the proposals under consideration are changes to the timing of individual states’ primaries and the caucus system, and reducing the number of superdelegates — unpledged party officials who played a significant role in deciding Obama’s status as the presumptive party nominee this year. Specifically, the new commission will look to ensure that no primary or caucus is held before the first Tuesday in March, two months later than the 2008 calendar kicked off.

The commission, which will be diverse in gender, geography and demographics, will be comprised of the new DNC chairman, 35 members and two co-chairmen. A report and recommendations will be ready no later than January 2010.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean said the commission would help meet the party’s goal of continuing to “strengthen the process and ensure a fair process in which the diverse voices in our party and our nation have a chance to be heard.”