Florida Pulls Plug on Proposed Primary Do-Over

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Mon, 03/17/2008 - 7:12pm.

Florida Democratic party officials have pulled the plug on a proposed vote-by-mail do-over of the Jan. 29 presidential primary.

State party officials had believed the mail-in primary was their best shot at meeting national party rules and seeing that the state's votes count in the presidential nominating contest. But the proposal was hammered from the start and party chief Karen Thurman said Monday the election won't happen.

A new full-blown vote or caucuses also are out of the question. "We spent the weekend reviewing your messages, and while your reasons vary widely, the consensus is clear: Florida doesn't want to vote again. So we won't,'' she said. "This doesn't mean that Democrats are giving up on Florida voters,'' she said, noting the party will likely take its case to the Democratic National Committee's rules and bylaws committee, which is scheduled to meet in April. But the failure of Florida to come up with another means for selecting delegates augurs a continued standoff over its delegates and, perhaps, a divisve floor fight at the convention itself over whether to seat the delegates based on the Jan. 29 results.

Other options: the candidates could reach a negotiated settlement over how to divide Florida's delegates, or one of the candidates could secure enough delegates to settle the argument. The news out of Tallahassee came as the Associated Press reported that in Lansing, Mich., legislative leaders reviewed a measure to stage a do-over Democratic presidential primary there. An aide to Hillary Clinton, who finished first in both states' January votes (she was the only candidate on the ballot in Michigan), called on Barack Obama's campaign to support the second Michigan primary. "The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy," Harold Ickes said in a statement. "If Barack Obama's campaign stands in the way of a new vote, he will be putting his own political interests ahead of the people of Michigan. They deserve to have a voice and a vote in the Democratic party's nominating process."

The Clinton campaign offered apre was no word of Florida, but a Clinton spokesman said she still supports either counting the votes already cast or a re-vote. We hope Sen. Obama joins us.'' Florida's attempt at a re-start appeared doomed from the start. Before it was even released, all nine members of the state's Democratic House delegation in Washington panned voting by mail. Barack Obama, whose campaign had raised questions about the reliability of mail-in elections, told reporters the "concerns about a mail-in system are not unique to us.'' And the Clinton campaign, which has pushed for a Florida re-vote, signaled that it would prefer a state-run conventional primary over a mail-in vote. But state party officials said the cost of a traditional primary — at least $25 million — rules it out. State officials also raised a potential hurdle, saying that Florida law would prevent them from authenticating voters' signatures. The plan called for sending ballots to every registered Democrat in the state and opening 50 regional election offices to coordinate and collect ballots from party members who prefer to hand deliver them. It would have been run by one or more private companies, with supervision by a private accounting firm, state party officials and representatives of both candidates. The estimated $10 million to $12 million pricetag would be picked up by campaign donors.


By Lesley Clark - McClatchy Newspapers - March 17, 2008 - posted at www.mcclatchydc.com

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Mon, 03/17/2008 - 7:12pm.