DNC Chair Election Preview: When It Starts, How It Works & Who the Candidates Are

The next chair of the Democratic National Committee is about to be selected.

Democrats will vote on the new head of the DNC at the 2017 Winter DNC Meeting, which is being held in Atlanta, Georgia. Voting is expected to begin on Saturday morning, with live coverage starting at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time on The Democrats’ official YouTube channel.

This vote takes place among the 447 members of the Democratic National Committee, and the person who receives a majority of votes will be elected chair. That sounds simple enough, but it’s made complicated by the fact that there are seven candidates in the running; this means that it is very likely that no one will get a majority of votes on the first ballot, and so a second round of voting will be required.

If no one wins during the second round, more and more rounds of voting will continue to be held until someone finally reaches 224 votes. After two rounds, the person who earns the fewest votes will be eliminated from contention, therefore narrowing the field down and making it easier for a single person to reach a majority.

This whole process is made available to the public to watch, and it can be viewed on YouTube. There will be just a few minutes between rounds of voting, and if a candidate decides to withdraw from the race between rounds, they have 30 seconds to address the crowd and potentially to throw their weight behind one of the other candidates.

There are seven candidates in the DNC chair election, although the race is currently thought to be between two contenders: Tom Perez, the former secretary of labor, and Keith Ellison, U.S. representative from Minnesota. Also in the race are Sally Boynton Brown, executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party; Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana; Jehmu Greene, Democratic strategist from Texas; Peter Peckarsky, an attorney from Wisconsin; and Sam Ronan, an Air Force veteran.

The winner of this election will be replacing Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who resigned as chair in July 2016. Donna Brazile served as interim chair until this election could be held.

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