Why did I vote for a presidential candidate and also for delegates?

Sorry, but I just don’t get it. Over forty years as a voter and I still don’t understand what the hell I’m doing in there. On our Democratic ballot in Illiinois, we voted for our presidential choice. Then, toward the bottom of the ballot, we were given choices to vote for six delegates. There were about thirty listed in bunches of six, each name followed by one of the candidate’s names in parentheses. So, there were six names with Obama’s name after them in parentheses, six with Clinton, and so on. I thought I was expressing my desires by voting for president. Why did I have to vote for delegates, too? And what would have happened if I had voted for a candidate and the delegates that were associated with a different candidate?

I don’t think you need to vote for both.

It’s simply a way to designate which delegate you want to go. For example my government teacher was going to be an Arizona delegate in 1992 (the candidate dropped right before the primaries, was going to go for the guy who almost beat clinton etc etc funny story I’ll reocunt it sometime), and he asked his class of seniors of course (outside of school, since campaigning isn’t allowed there) to vote for him if they had no moral objections so he could go to the Democratic National Convention. They could vote for the candidate and then teh delegate votes would be assigned in some way to the delegates or they could pledge x number of votes to specific delegates (i.e you may want in that case the teacher to have your votes, or to have one delegate go for one person and one for another because you like them both).

I’m not sure if that’s exactly how it works, but that’s what I understand.

Do you mean that you don’t care which three or four or five people (that you’ve never heard of) get to go to Denver and wear funny hats while voting for the candidate of your choice? Do you realize that one person or the other might have a funnier hat or a more colorful sign? This is important, dude!

Then you’d be helping to rank-order the delegates for a candidate other than your own.

The presidential vote determines how many delegates pledged to each candidate get elected by your district. Then, the rank ordering of delegates determines who those delegates are. For example, suppose your district is evenly divided, and elects (based on presidential preference vote) 3 Clinton and 3 Obama delegates. The delegate votes determine who they are–the top three Clinton and top three Obama vote-getters get to go to Denver.

By now you’re probably thinking, “What a waste of time. If there are six slots to fill, and I vote for all six of my candidate’s delegates, then I don’t help to rank order them at all.”

If you’re thinking that, you’re right. The only way to make a difference is to vote for some of your candidate’s delegates but not others.

I would imagine that few people know this. I would imagine that even fewer care. I’d also imagine that it’s a really dumb system. But remember: If you ever run for delegate, tell your family and friends to vote for you, and only for you. Let those other losers stay home and wear funny hats in front of their TV.

New York has a similar system. The Democratic Party requires you vote for delegates instead of a winner-take-all ballot the Republicans can use.

The candidate is to give the politicians (and superdelegates) an idea of how feeling actually is in the state. The direct voting for delegates determines who goes to the convention.

This is called a “bullet” vote and is a great way to stack the deck for your preferred candidate in an approval voting situation.

West Virginia used to have what was called a “beauty contest” primary, where the voters vote for President at the top, but this means absolutely nothing. The top however many delegates (and who they are pledged to) go to the convention…