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Politics & Government

Democrats In Wisconsin Call On Party To Revamp Superdelegates' Role

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Right now Hillary Clinton is expected to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination tomorrow. She would do so with the overwhelming support of superdelegates. These are Democratic Party leaders who are free to vote for any candidate they choose. Bernie Sanders supporters are turning to state Democratic parties to try to end the role of superdelegates, including in Wisconsin, where the state party held its convention over the weekend. Wisconsin Public Radio's Shawn Johnson reports.

SHAWN JOHNSON, BYLINE: There was no fighting or shouting between supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton during the debate on this superdelegate resolution. The only time people raised their voices was right after the vote.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: The amendment carried handily.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Again, please, no applause. I know you're happy. We're all happy.

JOHNSON: The resolution passed by Wisconsin Democrats calls on the national Democratic Party to either end superdelegates or require them to vote in proportion with their state's election results. It was pushed by Sanders supporters like Dave Palmer, who thinks superdelegates are undemocratic.

DAVE PALMER: Well, I think it's a fundamental principle of democracy, not just in the United States but around the world, the principle of one person, one vote.

JOHNSON: Not all Wisconsin Democrats feel the same way. Long-time Milwaukee labor leader and Democratic activist Martha Love is a superdelegate and a strong backer of Hillary Clinton.

MARTHA LOVE: So I've been a supporter since 1991. I am a current supporter. I'm considered a superdelegate. And I'm very proud of that fact.

JOHNSON: Even though Sanders won Wisconsin's primary by nearly 14 percentage points, most of the state's superdelegates supported Clinton. The lone exception is State Representative David Bowen, who thinks this resolution struck the right note.

DAVID BOWEN: At the end of the day, we're a party because of our members. And if our members are saying that we need to make some changes and really have some real consideration on changing the process, we absolutely need to do that.

JOHNSON: State party resolutions like this one make that look easy. But this is all headed for a battle at the Democratic National Convention this summer. For NPR News, I'm Shawn Johnson in Madison. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.