Maine Democrats voted at the state convention Saturday to limit the power of super delegates to freely pick whichever Democratic candidate they wish.
According to the Bangor Daily News, the party elected to proportionately divide the super delegates votes among the other 25 Maine delegates, beginning during the 2020 Presidential Election.
Maine Democrats overwhelmingly chose Senator Bernie Sanders over Secretary Hillary Clinton in the March 6 caucus, 64.3 percent to 35.5 percent.
Proportionately, Sanders won 17 delegates, with 8 going to Clinton.
Of the state’s five Democratic super delegates, however, three – Maggie Allen and Peggy Schaffer (both with the Democratic National Committee) and Rep. Chellie Pingree – have chosen to support Clinton.
Troy Jackson with the DNC, is backing Sanders and Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett is undecided.
The amendment was proposed by Portland state Rep. Diane Russell, a Sanders supporter. The amendment also includes clauses that “strongly encourage” this year’s super delegates to vote according to the will of the people.
Several attempts were made to make the amendment effective this election year, but they were ruled out of order because the deadline for amendments to the party’s rules was two weeks ago, according to Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett.
“If we make an immediate change, we put our entire delegation [to the National Democratic Convention in July] at risk in Philadelphia,” Bartlett told the Bangor Daily News. “We have a delegate selection plan that was approved by the Democratic National Committee that we have to follow to a T. If we don’t, we are out of compliance.”
Sanders released a statement on Sunday applauding the Maine decision. “Maine is trying to make the Democratic Party more democratic,” Sanders said. “I hope other states follow Maine’s example. This is the kind of grassroots democracy that will help the Democratic Party grow and win elections.”
Sanders trails Clinton by 290 pledged delegates, 1,414-1,704, with 933 pledged candidates left up for grabs in 13 remaining primaries.
A candidate needs 2,383 delegates out of 4,765 (4,051 pledged 714 unpledged – or super delegates) to win the Democratic presidential nomination.
The Democratic National Convention will be conducted in Philadelphia in July.