I'm watching the roll call from last night's DNC. I'm up to New Jersey and so far, only Sanders and Biden have been awarded any "votes". But Wikipedia says that Warren, Buttigieg, Bloomberg, Klobuchar and Gabbard all won multiple "delegates", and some were first-placed in states. This doesn't make any sense to me - what is the difference between delegates and "votes" in this sense?

  • Perhaps you are confounding convention delegates with electoral college delegates. I'm not entirely sure (in all states) that party convention delegates are bound by some "law" to vote for a particular nominee, the way that electoral delegates are bound by state laws to vote for the majority winner (of the general election) in that state.
    – BobE
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 2:23
  • your delegates typically vote on who gets votes at the state convention, which results in the numbers during the roll call.
    – dandavis
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 19:09
  • @dandavis So then why the disparity? Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 23:41

1 Answer 1


Only candidates who received at least 300 pledged delegates during the primaries were eligible to be part of the nomination process. 300 is about 7.5% of all pledged delegates, and after Joe Biden (2,687 delegates) and Bernie Sanders (1,073), the third place candidate was Elizabeth Warren at 63, so only Biden and Sanders were eligible to receive votes during the convention.

On the 'Plans and Details' page of 2020 Democratic National Convention's site you can find the 'Procedural Rules of the 2020 Democratic National Convention', and the relevant parts are in section C.4:

  1. Nomination of the Democratic Candidate for President: The Chair shall announce the nominations received for the Democratic candidate for the Office of President of the United States. Nominations shall be made in the following manner:

a. Requests to nominate a presidential candidate shall be in writing and shall have affixed thereto the approval of the proposed nominee and the name of the individuals who shall be recognized to make the nominating and seconding speeches on behalf of a presidential candidate and shall be delivered to the Convention Secretary by a method specified by the Secretary no later than 6:00 p.m. August 1, 2020; the receipt of said request shall constitute the placement of the individual’s name in nomination to facilitate voting according to the procedures provided for in Section E of these Rules.

b. Only presidential candidates who have secured not less than 300 pledged delegates certified to the DNC Secretary shall be eligible to request to have their name placed in nomination.


f. The roll call will continue until a nominee is selected according to the tally of votes announced during the roll call. State Delegation Chairs will report their delegation’s votes, which in the discretion of the Chair can be done verbally or in writing at any time. Upon announcement of a nominee having received a majority of the votes, the roll call may be suspended by the Chair, provided that all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the territories shall deliver their vote prior to the nominee’s acceptance speech.

The procedures in the document mentioned above were approved on July 30, 2020, and modified better fit having a mostly-remote convention during a pandemic, though the original call for a convention on August 25, 2018, (found here, under the '2020 Call for the Convention' direct-download link) also had the 300-delegate-minimum requirement, as found on page 15/section C.6b:

b. Each such request must be accompanied by a petition indicating support for the proposed nominee signed by delegates representing not less than 300 or more than 600 delegate votes, not more than 50 of which may come from one (1) delegation. A delegate may not sign more than one (1) nominating petition for president and for vice president. Pledged and automatic delegates may sign the petition

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