A commission of Democratic leaders on Wednesday recommended their party virtually eliminate superdelegates from their presidential candidate nomination process.

Their proposal -- commissioned by the Democratic National Committee in the aftermath of last year's tough primary season -- would essentially make the "superdelegate" post an honorary position.


Consequently, these powerful party leaders could no longer select the candidate of their choice; rather, their votes would be tied to the outcome of their respective states' primaries, which choose winners by popular vote.

“Openness, fairness, and accessibility are central to our ideals as Democrats, and the Commission’s recommendations to reform the delegate selection process will ensure that voters’ voices and preferences are paramount to our process of nominating a Presidential candidate," Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, current chairman of the DNC, said in a statement Wednesday.

As Kaine's remarks elicit, Democrats authorized the delegate reform commission following last year's close, competitive primary battle between then-candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The two potential nominees remained competitive in the popular vote until the very end, but Obama won a clear majority of his party's super delegates -- ultimately nabbing 463 of the all-important, independent votes to Clinton's 257 superdelegate votes.

A number of Democrats thus emerged from the party's 2008 primary season unhappy with the outcome and concerned by the delegate-awarding process, prompting DNC leaders at the 2008 convention to authorize a commission to examine those votes.

That commission, comprised of the likes of House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), finalized its discussions on Wednesday. In addition to recommending the end to the superdelegate system, members proposed the party's primary calendar be pushed back -- pre-primary events to February and primaries to March -- and the creation of a "best practices" program for states that still use caucuses.

The commission's ideas now head to the party's Rules and Bylaws Committee, which will vote on the changes and possibly implement them before the 2012 presidential election.

“As we work towards improving our Presidential nominating process and making it accessible to as many voters as possible, I am grateful to the Commission for its hard work in moving this process forward," Kaine said in the statement.