Process in electing delegates for Saturday’s Democratic caucus

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(Press Release) — The March 14 Democratic Presidential Caucus will be the first step in the NMI’s participation in this process. At the caucus Democrats will elect delegates to attend the National Convention according to Presidential preference group. The caucus will be held on Saipan i the World Resort’s Taga Ballroom, with simultaneous sub-caucuses to be held at the Northern Marianas College on Tinian - Room C, (VTC Room) and Rota - Room B2 (VTC Room). Doors open at 5 p.m. with doors closing for the caucuses to begin promptly at 6 p.m.

Here’s a short summary of how this process works:

The presidential nominee of the Democratic Party will be nominated at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this July 13-16, 2020. Each Ssate and territory, including the CNMI, is allotted a certain number of pledged delegates who can cast a vote at that convention. The CNMI is allotted 6 pledged delegates and 5 automatic delegates — meaning the 6 delegates are pledged to support a particular candidate at the convention. A pledged delegate can also be “uncommitted,” and therefore not bound to support any particular candidate at the convention.

Under the new rules adopted at the 2018 summer meeting of the DNC, our 5 automatic delegates do not have a vote on the first ballot in the nominating process — unless a presidential candidate has already secured enough pledged delegates in the primary and caucus process to secure the nomination outright.

During this Saturday’s caucus after all of the votes from Saipan, Tinian and Rota for presidential preference have been counted, that raw number of votes will be translated into the number of pledged delegates. Out of the CNMI’s total of 6 pledged delegates, the total will be awarded to a certain presidential preference (or uncommitted) group. Importantly, by rule a presidential preference must get at least 15% of the total vote in order to be awarded at least one delegate. After we do this “translation” into delegates, we will announce the delegates allotted to each pre- presidential preference. At that time we’ll know who “won” our caucus — will it be Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders?

After the party has awarded the delegates between the presidential preference groups, each presidential preference group on Saipan, Tinian and Rota will get together via conference call and vote for the individual persons that will be the delegates that go to the National Democratic Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This will be done via ballot. Candidates for delegate had to file a declaration of their candidacy with the NMI Democratic Party to get their name on the ballot. We may hear from these candidates at the caucus on why they think they should be elected. Importantly, caucus participants will only be able to vote for candidates for a delegate who is running to represent the presidential preference that they voted for on their ballot.

Then, after that election, each presidential preference group will then elect one alternate delegate to the national convention. This will be done on another ballot. The alternate will accompany the delegation and represent the CNMI and his or her presidential preference in the pledged delegate’s absence.

Importantly, the Democratic National Committee believes in non-discrimination and equal representation based on gender. The CNMI has been given certain targets for the demographic makeup of our total delegation, and is required to send a delegation balanced between men and women. So, there may be limits in the participants choices for whom they can vote for in the delegate and alternate elections that will be announced later on.

NMI registered voters who would like to participate and register as members of the party are welcome and encouraged to attend. All NMI registered voters and persons who will be eligible to vote on or before Nov 3, 2020 on Saipan Tinian and Rota will be able to visit the designated caucus voting sites in the Taga Ballroom, NMC Tinian and NMC Rota and cast votes for their Democratic presidential candidate of choice.

Facilities and media services provided for this event are paid services provided by Northern Marianas College. No political endorsement by NMC is inferred from this caucus event.

Visit www.nrnidems.org for more information and don’t miss the opportunity to participate in democracy and have a voice in choosing the next president of the United States.

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