Will superdelegates fly?

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By James Roberts

Kentucky's primary election is over, but the dust still hasn't settled.

Shuffling through the vote counts the morning after the election was a somewhat disheartening experience for this reporter. Kentuckians came out in droves to vote, nearly doubling the pre-election turnout predictions. That's great, but that's not the problem.

Hillary Clinton easily won the Kentucky Democratic presidential primary race. Barack Obama is claiming an overall victory. Clinton isn't conceding. The race, though the primaries are nearly over, is apparently still very much underway.

Some say it could rest in the hands of the superdelegates, the spandex-wearing crime fighters of Gotham City. These masked men and women swoop into the Democratic National Convention, taking the election off our hands in a single bound. That's the way I understand it anyway.

As that description of superdelegates suggests, I'm more familiar with comic books than politics. But, in an e-mailed interview in April, John Chowning, director of Campbellsville University's Kentucky Heartland Institute on Public Policy and an adjunct professor of political science, laid it all out for me.

In short, delegates vote for the candidates who won the primary. If the nomination process goes beyond that first vote, delegates vote how they please. The all-powerful superdelegates vote for whomever they please whenever they please. And still have time to get your neighbor's cat out of the tree and rescue the damsel tied to the railroad tracks.

Surely few would argue that this primary has been a historic event. Not only have we had a strong African-American and a female presidential candidate, it seems the primary votes have had little meaning.

I'll admit that I just don't get it. Why delegates and superdelagates nominate a candidate after the primary makes no sense to me. Why not let the voters pick the winners. Isn't that how it's supposed to work anyway?

It seems the process has gotten a bit out of control.

As Chowning told me in April, there are numerous reforms floating about. A favorite option of Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson is a rotating series of grouped primaries. With this option, certain groupings of states would conduct primaries on a certain date, with the date changing periodically.

Though certainly more sound than every state conducting primaries whenever they choose, a rotating date option could get a bit confusing also.

The process isn't likely to change anytime soon. Why, you ask? Well, because it needs to be reformed. Contrary to that oft-used clich, the squeaky wheel seldom gets the grease. That would be too logical and logic, these days, seems to be in short supply.

Speaking of a lack of logic, Campbellsville voters said yes to alcohol but rumors still abound. In the week since the election, more than a few people have said that several local restaurants have already applied for liquor licenses. Really? Seems kind of impossible since the licensing process has yet to be adopted by the City Council. We'll follow up on that process in a future issue.

There's also a rumor that someone or some group will challenge the alcohol vote because a handful of absentee voters voted on the question before the "in conjunction with a meal" stipulation was added to the ballot.

As of Tuesday, no such challenge had been filed.

And I thought the primary was over.