FAQ: 2024 National Conventions
- When are the 2024 National Conventions Occurring?
- What do Delegates do?
- Who can be a Delegate?
- Why should educators become Delegates?
- How many Delegates are there, and how do states elect them?
- What type of Delegate can educators become?
- How do NEA members get elected as District Delegates?
- How does NEA help members who become Delegates?
Below are frequent questions that we receive from members regarding the 2024 Democratic and Republican national conventions. If you have questions that are not answered here please email EdAction@nea.org.
When are the 2024 National Conventions Occurring?
The Democratic National Convention will be August 19 – 23 in Chicago, and the Republican National Convention will be July 15 – 18 in Milwaukee.
What do Delegates do?
Simply being at the convention makes delegates a part of history, leading up to and during the convention, delegates help draft the party platform, which defines the party policy preferences and priorities. NEA member delegates can push their party to commit to strong pro-public education language in its official platform. During the convention, delegates also vote for their party’s candidate for president and later can serve as spokespeople or activists for candidates and issues during the presidential campaign cycle and often beyond.
Who can be a Delegate?
Every state party has different rules and there are many different types of delegates, but in general, anyone can serve as a delegate. While anyone can run for a delegate position, it’s good to know that state Democratic parties are required to pass plans to reflect their state demographically, usually requiring consideration for gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, among other considerations. The Republican party has not provided similar criteria.
Why should educators become Delegates?
As experts in education and champions for our students, NEA members are the very best convention delegates. Not only do educators function as key messengers for our students and schools, but women make up the majority of our membership and our members are incredibly diverse. Conventions are an important opportunity to put the interests of our students and our profession at the top of our nation’s political and policy agendas and to make sure educators’ voices are heard. Not only will delegates select presidential nominees, but they’ll influence party platforms to make public education a top issue for both parties.
How many Delegates are there, and how do states elect them?
After state parties receive the number of delegates they will have for the conventions based on population and voting history, delegates are elected from each state, in proportion to its size and voting history; next Summer, the Republican Party will host more than 2,500 delegates in Milwaukee while more than 4,500 Democratic delegates will convene in Chicago.
For Democrats, states have proportionate representation according to candidate preference; in other words, the number of delegates any given candidate receives is dependent on the outcome of an individual state’s primary or caucus as delegates will be proportionately allotted based on a candidate’s performance. Democratic delegates run for a slot with their candidate of choice and usually hear if they were selected after their state’s primary or caucus.
In the Republican Party, states choose between a proportional share, winner-take-all, or some form of hybrid system, with delegates subsequently distributed based on state primary and caucus outcomes.
What type of Delegate can educators become?
There are different types of delegates and each state party has its own rules. Generally, the breakdown is as follows:
- District delegates: These delegates represent geographical units within states, generally following Congressional district boundaries. Potential district delegates should live and vote in that district, and running for delegate is like any other campaign. District delegates are often chosen at state party caucus meetings among attendees, or in coordination with the candidate campaigns, who select their own district delegates.
- At-large delegates: At-large delegates are chosen statewide and typically selected by party officials or influencers. State affiliate leaders and public education activists are natural candidates to become at-large delegates.
- Pledged Party Leaders and Elected Officials (PLEO): Many PLEO positions are reserved for large municipal officials, statewide elected officials, or party leaders.
- Automatic Delegates (a.k.a. Superdelegates): These delegates are defined in advance, usually to include members of the national party committee, governors, members of Congress, or other party leaders.
How do NEA members get elected as District Delegates?
Typically, the first step is to contact your state party and learn the rules for delegate elections. After that, it’s similar to running other campaigns. While rules vary from state to state, district delegates likely need to collect signatures and win enough votes at various party meetings to advance to the national convention. Make sure to talk with friends, neighbors, and fellow educators about your election and get them out to vote!
How does NEA help members who become Delegates?
If you decide to run to become a delegate, know you won’t be doing this on your own. More than 200 NEA members serve as convention delegates every four years! NEA provides information and guidance for members to navigate the delegate selection process in your state. For those who make it to a national convention, NEA will assist with logistical coordination and is even able to provide a travel stipend for delegates to help offset costs. During the convention, NEA will also likely host events showcasing educators, too.
NEA encourages interested leaders and activists to work with their state affiliates and state parties.