WASHINGTON – Minorities will be represented in record numbers among the delegates to this month's Democratic National Convention (search) in Boston, convention organizers said Wednesday.
Nearly 40 percent of the more than 4,300 delegates are of a minority background, including record numbers of blacks, Asians, American Indians and Hispanics, the Democratic National Convention Committee said.
"This will be the most successful convention ever in terms of diversity," said Alice Germond, secretary of the Democratic National Committee.
According to Germond, the 2004 delegation breaks down this way:
— Blacks: 20.3 percent, up from 20 percent in 2000.
— Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.9 percent, up from 3 percent.
— Hispanic: 11.3 percent, up from 9 percent.
— American Indian: 1.7 percent, up from 1 percent.
Census Bureau figures show that in 2003, about 68 percent of U.S. residents were white, 14 percent Hispanic, 13 percent black, 4 percent Asian, and just less than 1 percent were American Indian.
Each state has a delegate selection plan that includes diversity goals. The plan must be approved by the DNC, though party officials have noted that goals aren't quotas and that neither a state nor a presidential campaign is penalized if they don't reach them.
States are required to have roughly equal numbers of men and women in their delegations. Nationally, that goal was met again this year.
Some states also have goals to recruit gay and lesbian delegates. Germond said that so far, the party is slightly behind the 2000 goal of 3.7 percent of Democratic delegates who identified themselves as homosexual, though data for 2004 delegates on that characteristic is still incomplete.
For the most part, numerical goals don't exist for delegations to the Republican convention, to be held in late August in New York. GOP rules state that participation in primaries and the delegate process "shall in no way be abridged for reasons of sex, race, religion, color, age or national origin," while encouraging the "broadest possible participation" among all groups.