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Democrats Seek Revamp of Primary System

A group of high-ranking Democrats has voted to approve recommendations that would revamp the Democratic Party's presidential primary process, in part by eliminating the unpledged superdelegates that caused so much consternation during the last election cycle.

The Democratic Change Commission, which is led by House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn of South Carolina and Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, was established at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. It was formed following the hard-fought battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the party's nomination, a contest that many worried would be decided by the so-called superdelegates who do not have to vote based on their state's primary or caucus results.

Under the Democratic Change Commission recommendations, those superdelegates would become National Pledged Party Leader and Elected Official delegates – and they would have to vote based on the will of the Democratic voters in their state.

The commission is also recommending that presidential primary voting and caucusing not take place before Feb. 1st in the future. In 2008, the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses took place on January 3rd.

"Openness, fairness, and accessibility are central to our ideals as Democrats, and the Commission's recommendations to reform the delegate selection process will ensure that voters' voices and preferences are paramount to our process of nominating a Presidential candidate," Democratic National Committee Chairman and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said in a statement posted to the Democratic Party's blog.

The commission has also called for improvements in the caucus system. Its recommendations now go to the D.N.C.'s Rules and Bylaws Committee for consideration.

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