National Convention Delegate Selection Process

The most important features of the Democratic and Republican national convention delegate selection processes are summarized below:
Democratic Party Nomination Process
Total Number of Delegates Available: 4,049
Number of Delegates Needed to Win: 2,025

The delegates of the Democratic National Convention:

PLEDGED DELEGATES - Each state is awarded a number of delegates to the national convention based on its share of the total Democratic popular vote and its share of the electoral vote in the three most recent presidential elections. Most of these delegates are chosen in within Congressional districts or subdivisions and some are remaining pledged delegates are chosen statewide.

UNPLEDGED "PLEO" DELEGATES (Super Delegates) - These delegates are primarily made up of Democratic Members of Congress, Governors, and "distinguished party leaders." These delegates are not obligated to vote for any particular candidate.
Republican Party Nomination Process
Total Number of Delegates: 2,380
Number of Delegates Needed to Win: 1,191

The delegates of the Republican National Convention:

DISTRICT LEVEL DELEGATES - Three district level delegates are given to a state for each of their congressional districts.

AT-LARGE DELEGATES - Ten at-large delegates are given to each state regardless of population.

BONUS DELEGATES Each state can earn additional delegates by meeting one or more of the following requirements: the state cast a majority of its votes for the Republican presidential candidate in the previous presidential election, the state elected Republicans to the U.S. House or Senate, selected a Republican Governor or state legislative majorities, and / or the state holds its presidential primary election after March 15th (this is to discourage states from holding early primaries).

PARTY DELEGATES - each jurisdiction automatically receives three party delegates: their two RNC delegates and the chairman of the state Republican party of, each state and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.

NOTE: The process by which national convention delegates are awarded will vary from state to state. Some states use a "winner-take-all" approach and give the candidate with the most votes all of the delegates for that state. Other states award delegates in proportion to the number of votes that each candidate recieves.

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