Democrats mobilize for upcoming elections
Xavier Higgs | 3/19/2009, 5 p.m.
Politics has always been a hot topic and like an epidemic sweeping this country it has caused unlikely strangers to interact and engage one another in conversation. The contentious Democratic primary battle has brought out record numbers of voters across the nation.
But this closely matched Democratic primary election is not without its share of controversy. As the Democratic National Committee (DNC) considers how it will handle the Florida and Michigan delegates, many local grassroots organizations are organizing to develop delegates.
The Los Angeles African America Women Political Action Committee (LAAAWPAC), along with Earl Ofari Hutchinson's Urban Policy Roundtable, recently hosted a session on "Becoming a Delegate to the Democratic National Committee."
"Because of the misconceptions about the Democratic delegate situation, we wanted to clear up some of the confusion and explain to registered voters how to get to Denver to represent their congressional district as a delegate," said Jacquelynn Hawthorne, Chairwoman of LAAAWPAC.
Ken Maxey, Deputy Political and Outreach Director for the California Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee, and the session's keynote speaker said, "This presidential election is historical. People are excited about Senators Clinton and Obama and they want to be a delegate. It's my job to inform people about how to be a delegate."
Each of California's 53 Congressional Districts are allocated three to six district level delegates. The number of delegates are based upon the population and voting from the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004. A delegate must be a registered Democratic voter in his or her congressional district. The filing deadline for District Level Delegates is April 4, 2008
"The current administration's has negatively impacted most of the citizens of this country as well as world," says Maxey. "I think voters realize this and are coming out in record numbers to vote and engage the candidates. It is apparent to people in this country that we cannot afford four more years of an administration that has not allowed the country to grow or progress."
However this presidential election is different. For the first time in United States history, an African American and a woman are serious candidates for this nation's highest elected office. Both candidates have dominated this nation's interest and have cause division among party leaders.
"Super delegates," unlike most convention delegates, are not selected based on the party primaries and caucuses. They are usually current or former elected officials and party officials. They are free to vote for any Democratic candidate.
Congressmembers Diane Watson, Maxine Waters and Laura Richardson are "super delegates" and strong supporters of Hillary Clinton. However, their districts voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama in the recent primary.
About eight million voters turned out for the February 5 primary in California. That's 1.2 million more than the previous record set back in 2000.
Debra Bowen, California's Secretary of State said, "The closeness of the Democratic and Republican contest, and the ability to help pick the next presidential nominee, clearly motivated Californians to head to the polls in record numbers for a primary election."
The California Democratic Party provides more information about how to become a delegate on its web site www.cadem.org.