Sat 20 Jan, 2007 03:57 pm
Reference presidential conventions. Can delegates at those conventions to nominate a Presidential candidate vote by secret ballot? I can't find a decent answer on the Web. All it says it that the voting is generally "perfuntory" and a presidential forerunner is usually selected without dissent on the first ballot.
Aha! But what if? What if, for example, at the Democratic convention in Denver, Obama, Hillary and John Edwards are running close in the polls and the delegates want to cast differing votes? Can they vote without the results being revealed to the public?
I ask this interesting question because I suspect some of the hoopla and cheering for Barack Obama might wane at the Democratic convention. I suspect that a lot of the cheering for him is due to political correctness. The delegates at the convention are going to say they will vote for him. But what if they don't? Will how they voted be made available to the public? If delegates can vote in secret they will all say they voted for Obama. But if doesn't win the nomination, it will be obvious that delegates were lying. But which ones?
By the time the convention rolls around, most of the delegates that attend were chosen because they support a specific candidate. The likelyhood of them switching without some major catastrophe for the candidate they support is little to none. The voting is prefunctory because the delegates are pledged for candidates and usually one candidate has enough delegates pledged to win outright on the first ballot. At that point most other candidates drop out and release their delegates to vote for the apparent winner.
At the conventions I have attended the voting is done in the delegations with the results of each delegation reported to the chair for tabulation. Voting is done on paper ballots. It could be considered secret but the buttons and signs worn and carried make it easy to tell who is voting for whom. The rules for the convention will designate how the votes will be cast and the ballots will be tabulated. Paper ballots are usually required to allow for recounts if necessary.