Petitioners Urge VT Superdelegates To Support Sanders - Rights and Democracy

Petitioners Urge VT Superdelegates To Support Sanders


ABC22 / FOX44 - Staci DaSilva - April 8, 2016  SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt.

Nearly 3,000 Vermonters are urging some of the state’s superdelegates to reevaluate who they choose to support at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this July.

"I felt really passionate, as I think a lot of Vermonters do, that these superdelegate votes should be cast for Bernie Sanders," said Julie Winn, with Rights & Democracy.

Julie Winn is a decade long supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. She volunteered for his first Senate campaign.

“He speaks up and actually comes through and acts for the majority of the working class people,” she said.

So when Sanders won an overwhelming 86.1% of the vote in Vermont on Super Tuesday, Winn thought the superdelegates would also fall in line.

“This is the will of the people and these are our elected officials,” said Winn.

Winn helped write an open letter to superdelegates with the group “Rights & Democracy."

In less than two days, it gained more than 2,800 signatures.


“Every minute there's new people signing and then there's lots of comments,” said Winn.

Comments like: "Vermonters have spoken" and "Listen to your supporters.”

“The superdelegates should do what I think is right and follow suit with what Vermonters want,” said Winn.

Superdelegates are elected officials who vote at the party's national convention.

Vermont has 10 superdelegates.

Six superdelegates, including Sanders himself, have said they will vote for Vermont's senator: Rep. Peter Welch, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, Chair of Vermont Democratic Party Dottie Deans, Vice Chair of Vermont Democratic Party Tim Jerman and Rich Cassidy.

However, Governor Peter Shumlin, former Governor Howard Dean, and Democratic National Committeewoman Billi Gosh say they’re voting for Hillary Clinton. 

Gosh said she pledged her support to Clinton in 2008 and told the former Secretary of State in August that she would do the same in 2016.

As for Governor Shumlin, his office sent us a statement: “The Governor is supporting Hillary Clinton for President. She is currently leading in pledged delegates. To his knowledge, there has not been a scenario in recent history where superdelegates vote against the candidate who wins the most delegates and votes. He doesn't expect that to change this year.”

While Senator Patrick Leahy says he personally supports Clinton, he says, as a superdelegate, he will support the candidate with the most votes going into the convention.

“They're chosen, not to represent the voters, their loyalty is to the party,” said political analyst and University of Vermont political science professor Garrison Nelson.

Nelson says the whole point of superdelegates is that they are not bound to how their state votes.

“Superdelegates are not supposed to be representing the voters of their state,” he said. “Their job basically is to guarantee a candidate, who from their standpoint, is congruent with the party stances."

Superdelegates can change their mind. That happened in 2008 when they shifted from Clinton to then-Senator Barack Obama.

“Now, will they switch? In vermont, i don't see that happening,” said Nelson.

Sanders also won by a large margin in New Hampshire. All of the New Hampshire superdelegates who have announced their support, have pledged for Hillary Clinton.

Clinton also has the support of New York superdelegates, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillbrand.

Clinton’s husband, President Bill Clinton, is also a superdelegate in New York.

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