NDP race marks shift in traditional dynamics of political conventions

OTTAWA - For every New Democrat banging a thunderstick on the convention floor in Toronto this weekend, there will be 30 more banging on their keyboards at home.

Political experts say the system by which NDP members will chose their new leader marks a major change for political conventions.

The preferential ballot means many of the votes will be cast before the convention even begins and the vast majority of voters won't even be at the convention itself.

Carleton University political science professor William Cross says this could made it hard for the party to build a national consensus around a leader.

But it does open up the chance for social media to play a role.

Candidates will have limited time to woo new supporters in between voting rounds, and sites such as Facebook or Twitter could help them reach out quickly.