I must admit that, after more than a decade of teaching and researching political parties, I found being selected to and participating in the 1980 Democratic National Convention an exhiliarating experience.
The Alabama delegate-selection process was a very competitive primary with extensive activity by the Carter and Kennedy organizations and by the individual delegate candidates. In varying degrees, the delegate candidates stumped their constituencies with personal appearances, letters, rallies, sample ballots, newspaper ads, group endorsements, and assorted other campaign gimmicks.
The selection process consisted primarily of a statewide primary (1) to allocate Alabama's delegates and alternate delegates among the presidential candidates, and (2) to elect the members of that delegation. Over 500 candidates ran for the 45 delegate and 32 alternate delegate positions in that primary. The primary actually was conducted by congressional district, with 33 candidates running for four delegate and three alternate delegate positions in my CD. The ballot was structured by sex (females listed first) and the voter was instructed to vote for up to four females and up to four males. Delegates were allocated to presidential candidates according to a formula which was roughly proportional; and individual delegates were selected by an equally fair but more complex formula.