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We've just been informed by email from Kenneth D. McClintock, DNC member from Puerto Rico, that Puerto Rico is changing from a caucus to a primary, and moving their date to June 1:
[Puerto Rico will] change the voting process from 8 caucuses to a primary with voting places in all 1,800+ barrios in Puerto Rico's 78 municipalities. This is done in light of the hundreds of thousands of Democrats expected to turn out on June 1, a late date in which we would have originally expected a pro-forma vote with low turnout.Good move. I think we've all seen enough of overflowing caucuses rooms. (Hello Texas and Nevada).
The LA Times had a hint of this earlier in the day:
Puerto Rico, with about 55 pledged delegates, is scheduled to hold the last Democratic primary on Saturday, June 7. But election rules require the primary to be held on the first Sunday in June -- which is June 1. The Democratic National Committee is expected to approve the switch, which will mercifully shorten the primary calendar by four full days, and give Montana and South Dakota the last ballots on June 3.Update: More information from Senator McClintock:
DNC spokeswoman Stacie Paxton blamed the problem on a "clerical error.
The change was approved unanimously by all members present, including many Clinton supporters (such as State Chair Prats and myself) and many Obama supporters.Update 2: Via MyDD, the final word that Puerto Rico is not winner-take-all:
The rationale? There's no way we could handle more than a few tens of thousands of voters in eight district caucuses, while we can handle a million voters (at least 500 voters between 8am and 3 pm per polling place in each of 1,800+ barrios) in a primary.
By the end of the delegate selection season, we would normally have a pro-forma vote that could fit into caucuses. This time around, it was increasingly obvious that we'd have a turnout well in excess of caucus capacity.
The notion of Puerto Rico being a "winner-take-all" jurisdiction stems from previous presidential primary contests, which were pretty much over by the time the Puerto Ricans got to vote. John Kerry swept Puerto Rico in 2004 just as Al Gore triumphed in 2000 because they were the only candidates left in the race, and the party bosses could manipulate the caucus process.
This time will be very different, according to several Puerto Rican Democratic leaders I contacted earlier today by phone. ... If the race is still competitive, participation is likely to be very high, and there is no way that one candidate will sweep all the delegates.
"Both the candidates have supporters on the island," said Eliseo Roques, vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee's Hispanic Caucus, and a prominent Puerto Rican politician who is neutral in the race. "You will see a closely contested race."