Gary Johnson

The Libertarian Party Convention Has Begun

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Las Vegas – The Libertarian National Convention kicks off today at the Red Rock Casino and Resort, but the real action won't take place until Friday and Saturday, when delegates from around the country vote for the party's presidential ticket.

Party insiders do not expect a repeat of the contentious 2008 convention, when it took over six ballots for former Georgia congressman Bob Barr to win the nomination.

There will likely be some drama, however, as the Libertarian Party doesn't have pledged convention delegates. According to party rules, all delegates are free to vote for the candidate of their choosing and there are no so-called "Super Delegates," like in the two major parties.

The national party leaves it up to the state parties to determine how they pick delegates for the national convention. Most  select their delegates at a state convention or caucus, effectively relegating the presidential primary to the status of an irrelevant beauty contest in some states. The primary is really the rounds of voting that will take place on the convention floor. Delegates do not have to vote for any of the candidates either, as "None of the above" is an option.

How many delegates a state is allocated is determined by party membership and the number of votes cast for the party in the last national election. There are 1,042 delegates up for grabs with California, Texas, Florida, Ohio, and New York being the most delegate-rich states. With just three each, North Dakota, D.C., Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wyoming have the smallest delegations.

The home state of the front-runner for the nomination, former two-term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, has just eight.