A delegate is a person chosen at the state or local level who is expected to support a particular candidate when it comes time to decide a presidential nominee.
The Democratic Party has 4,763 delegates in the 2016 presidential election that can be awarded to each candidate, and each state has a certain number of delegates they are able to give. The Democratic Party gives out delegates proportionally in each state — so a candidate who receives 30 percent of the votes in a state’s primary election would get 30 percent of its delegates, for example.
The Republican Party has 2,472 delegates in the 2016 presidential election that can awarded to each candidate. Each state award delegates differently, whether it’s proportionally, winner-take-all or a combination of the methods.
For both parties, at the end of primary season, if a candidate gets a simple majority of all of the delegates, they will earn their party’s nomination.
A superdelegate, also known as unpledged delegates, is a current or former elected official or party leader, such as members of Congress, governors and former presidents. And unlike delegates, they are not required to indicate preference for a certain candidate and can vote how they please at the convention.
There are approximately 712 superdelegates for the Democratic Party in the 2016 presidential election, which represents 15% of the total delegates.
According to Associated Press, 359 superdelegates have already committed to Hillary Clinton, compared to eight for Bernie Sanders.
See the list of the Democratic superdelegates and who they support here.
For the Republican Party, there are generally 3 unpledged delegates in each state, consisting of the state chairman and two RNC committee members. However, unlike Democratic candidates who don’t have to base their vote off the state primary results, RNC conventions rules obligate them to vote according to the primary elections in their state.