Puerto Rico announces new Democratic delegate selection process

by Apr 18, 2016Elections0 comments

Good news for Puerto Rican citizens who want to play a more active role in the political process: Democratic Party leader Roberto L. Prats Palerm has officially released the forms that will allow people to nominate themselves to serve as delegates in the territory’s democratic primary. The form serves as a formal statement of intent and would allow ordinary citizens to travel to and represent Puerto Rico at the Democratic national convention, which is to be held in Philadelphia from July 25 – July 28.

According to a Facebook announcement, the forms were made available April 1 and can be submitted until May 7. While anyone is welcome to submit himself or herself as a candidate, the presidential candidates have the ultimate say in who does or does not get approved to serve as a delegate.

In this election cycle Puerto Rico is afforded 67 total delegates. 40 of these are district delegates, 13 delegates are at large, seven are pledged party leaders and elected officials (PLEOs) and the remaining seven are unpledged PLEOs. The seven unpledged PLEO delegates will be elected in conjunction with the results of the primary and will be made up of five Democratic National Committee members, the resident commissioner and the governor. The remaining 60 delegates, however, are pledged to vote for presidential candidates based on the results of the Puerto Rican presidential primary.

This announcement follows a change in rules regarding the overall delegate selection plan that was introduced in March and approved in April. This confirmation officially changed the voting system from an open caucus to a closed primary.

Still, under Puerto Rico’s rules, a presidential candidate must secure at least 15 percent of the overall vote in order to obtain any pledged delegates.

While this is the largest delegation Puerto Rico has ever had, there are also some “affirmative action” measures in place to ensure that a diverse range of delegates is chosen.  Some specific markers taken into consideration include gender balance, youth and LGBT representation, veterans and members of trade unions.

The Democratic Party is the only one that allows for open participation of this kind in Puerto Rico, and the Democratic presidential primary, which takes place on June 5, also coincides with the state/local primaries.

The form can be found on the party’s official Facebook page, and submitted via email to partidodemocratapr@gmail.com.